Bionics

Article

August 14, 2022

Bionics (which is also known as biomimicry, biomimetics or biomimesis in the literature) is a new, interdisciplinary discipline whose aim is to transfer the solutions developed in living nature into technical practice, also starting from the consideration that natural selection in nature provides the optimal solutions refers to a problem. The term biomimicry or biomimetics is used more in technical sciences to distinguish it from bionics, which is more common in medical jargon. Natural scientists, engineers and representatives of other disciplines (e.g. architects, designers) also collaborate in the cultivation of bionics.

History

The English word bionics was first used publicly by the American aeronautical engineer Jack E. Steele in his presentation at a scientific conference in 1960, which he derived from combining the Greek words bios (βίος, meaning: nature) and technique (English: technics). Although it is a new term, we can already see much earlier examples of man trying to artificially produce solutions that fall from nature for his own benefit. According to Greek mythology, Icarus tried to fly with wings made of bird feathers attached to his arms. Leonardo da Vinci also imagined that man could fly by equipping wings similar to those of birds, but other than him, others - some even before him - put similar ideas on paper or tried to implement. There are also examples from later periods. At the World Exhibition held in Paris in 1889, Hilaire de Chardonnet presented the fiber-forming rose that he created for the production of nitrate artificial silk, which he invented and which served as a model for the fiber formation of the silkworm. A well-known example from the 20th century is also the velcro fastener, the prototype of which was the thistle.

Bionics today

Bionics as a discipline has been developing rapidly since the second half of the 20th century and is now divided into several sub-fields: Anthropobionics - The study of people's movements, in order, for example, to provide them with the most comfortable position in the cockpit of an airplane, or to develop robots that approximate human movements as closely as possible. Procedural bionics – Examination of biological processes in order to develop effective procedures based on them to meet needs better and more economically. An example of this is photosynthesis, which, among other things, can serve as a basis for extracting hydrogen and oxygen from water. Device bionics - Closely related to constructional and structural bionics. It deals with the transfer of tools and techniques realized in nature into man-made tools. Some aquatic animals, for example, propel themselves forward by moving their caudal fins, and based on this, they have created boats that can be used in shallow water, where the usual propeller would not be usable. Developmental bionics – The study of evolutionary processes for the sake of technical utilization, for example in cases where the mathematical formulation of complex systems is not yet at a level that allows them to be simulated using computational methods. In such cases, one can only rely on experimental results. Infobionics – The unification of information technology and biotechnology, the study of the relationship between the nervous system and electronic devices, based on all this, the aim is to create bio-nano measuring devices and imagers. Climate bionics – Searching for passive ventilation, cooling or heating systems in nature (e.g. in termite mounds, in the passageways of some underground animals) and