Skip to main content

What is Biomimetics (Bionics)?

A biomimetics hand could transform the lives of amputees worldwide, and help them to regain independence and control in their everyday lives. The bionic hand should be designed to handle almost anything that you need to do during an average day. It is like eating meals and carrying bags, opening doors, switching on lights and typing. Achieving such opportunities requires the use of biomimetics and mechatronic systems.

What is mechatronics you can read here. Biomimetics (biomimicry) is the field of science which helps to create bio-inspired technologies [1, 2]. It is the emulation of the models, systems and elements of the nature. The word biomimetics appeared for the first time in 1950s. The term biomimetics was introduced by Otto H. Schmitt. He applied his multi-disciplinary talents as an undergraduate and graduate student at Washington University. He worked there in three departments: physics, zoology, and mathematics. His doctoral research was an attempt to produce a physical device that explicitly mimicked the electrical action of a nerve. Finally Schmitt designed and built an electronic device to mimic the propagation of action potentials along nerve fibers. His most famous invention, "the Schmitt trigger", had its basis in Schmitts' doctoral research. By 1957, he had come to perceive what he would later in 1969 [3] label biomimetics, as a disregarded - but highly significant - converse of the standard view of biophysics:

Biophysics is not so much a subject matter as it is a point of view. It is an approach to problems of biological science utilizing the theory and technology of the physical sciences. Conversely, biophysics is also a biologist's approach to problems of physical science and engineering, although this aspect has largely been neglected.
Biomimetics is a closely related field to bionics, sometimes there words are treat as the synonyms. The word bionics was coined by Jack Steele of the US Air Force in 1960 at a meeting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. From the begining the bionics whas the science of systems which have function similar and copied from nature Bionic systems represent characteristics of natural systems. In 1963 Otto Schmitt at a meeting at Dayton said:

Let us consider what bionics has come to mean operationally and what it or some word like it (I prefer biomimetics) ought to mean in order to make good use of the technical skills of scientists specializing, or rather, I should say, despecializing into this area of research. Presumably our common interest is in examining biological phenomenology in the hope of gaining insight and inspiration for developing physical or composite bio-physical systems in the image of life.

The biomechatronic systems mostly are a body parts like legs or arms. It can be simple and straightforward and get the job done, like two- or three-finger grippers. Or it can be very complex like hands with four fingers and a thumb that are designed to closely mimic human hands. Bionics designer Hugh Herr said:

Humans will soon have new bodies that forever blur the line between the natural and synthetic worlds.
During the twilight years of this century, I believe humans will be unrecognizable in morphology and dynamics from what we are today.

A bionic revolution is brewing, as recent advancements in bioengineering have brought about scientific breakthroughs in rehabilitation for people with disabilities. The world of prosthetics grows faster every year and artificial limbs are designed to be more and more effective. This is the biomechatronic way to help amputees and sufferers of paralysis. The most cutting edge research is happening inside the human brain, where implanted technology allows people to communicate directly with computers, using their thoughts. 

[1] Jon M. Harkness: In Appreciation A Lifetime of Connections: Otto Herbert Schmitt, 1913 - 1998, Physics in Perspective volume 4, pages 456–490(2002)
[2] Julian F.V Vincent, Olga A Bogatyreva, Nikolaj R Bogatyrev, Adrian Bowyer, Anja-Karina Pahl: Biomimetics: its practice and theory, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2006
[3] Schmitt O. Some interesting and useful biomimetic transforms.In Third Int. Biophysics Congressp., 1969, 297.

Comments

You might also like

    Popular posts

    What is Mechatronics?

    Mechatronics definition Mechatronics is a synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and mechanic systems. It is the science, that exists at the interface among the other five disciplines: mechanics, electronics, informatics, automation, robotics. It is one of the most dynamically developing fields of technology and science. The word 'mechatronics' appeared for the first time in Japan in 1969. mechatronics = mecha nics + elec tronics + computing

    Ascento - The Two-Wheeled Jumping Robot

    All-terrain capabilities are required to extend beyond flat surfaces the application range of wheeled robots. First think is four or six-legged robots which have been well known for years. Nowadays, thanks to more and more perfect gait algorithms, the two-legged (bipedal) robots appears more and more often. ETH Zürich students combine the advantages of wheeled robot and two-legged robot.

    Automatic Sorting of Skittles or M&Ms by Colour

    Do you sort M&Ms or Skittles by colour before eating them?  For example, eat all the yellow ones first, then the red ones, then the blue and so on. Brian Egenriether, an electrical engineer, decided to make a small machine that looked like an appliance, which could perform these tasks automatically. This mechatronics project took him about 5 weekends to make. The use of the machine is very simple: pour Skittles or M&Ms into it, push a button and have candies sorted. Let us look at the construction.

    Mechatronics System as the Future of Cooking at Home

    Do you get up in the morning and don't feel like making breakfast? One of the solutions is food delivery service, which leaves your takeout order outside of your front door. Other solution is a private chef who is responsible for shopping for food, menu planning, preparing and cooking meals for you. But if you love mechatronics systems, your solution is a mechatronic kitchen. It allows you to save time, free up your day from routine cooking, plan and adapt your menu according to different diets and lifestyles.

    Stretch - Boston Dynamics Unveils New Robot for Warehouse Automation

    Boston Dynamics is the global leader in mobile robotics. Their popular robots are SpotMini, Spot, Atlas and Handle. Now they has revealed 'Stretch', which is a new box-moving robot designed to support the growing demand for flexible automation solutions in the logistics industry. A Massachusetts company well known for its humanoid robots and dog-like androids is preparing to muscle its way into the warehouse automation industry with its latest mechatronic solution. Warehouse automation is a fast-growing market fueled by increased demand in e-commerce. The robot called Stretch is Boston Dynamics’ first commercial robot specifically designed for warehouse facilities and distribution centers. Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics said: Warehouses are struggling to meet rapidly increasing demand as the world relies more on just-in-time delivery of goods. Mobile robots enable the flexible movement of materials and improve working conditions for employees. Stretch

    Three Wheels Balancing Robot

    The three wheels balancing robot is similar to a ballbot from the point of view of the goal. In comparison to ballbot which balance itself on a single ball, three wheels balancing robot is designed to balance itself on a single rod. The common characteristics of this kind of robots is that there’s one sole contact point to the ground.

    DIY Low Cost 6-Axis Desktop Robot

    Learning how to build a robot is a long way. It is the way by mechanics, electronics and programming. Such a mechatronics project is associated with problems such as stiffness (mechanics), overvoltage (electronics) or bug (software). Of course, if something is wrong, we always say 'it's not a bug, it's a feature', but finally a robot has to start working properly.