Biomimetics is the concept of mimicking natural processes in form or function, using alternative technology. This includes the replication of biological processes in order to achieve higher efficiencies in production and performance. As natural processes are also energy limited, replicating such well advanced and proven techniques can lead directly to more efficient designs in solving existing problems. Technological advances are making biomimetic solutions more accessible, with the decreasing size and cost hardware, as well as the development of associated production techniques, required to practically implement such systems.

The application of biomimetic principles is not new. Early designs for air travel were based on observations of birds. The replication of natural materials such as silk in order to exploit the inherent strength and flexibility has been attempted for many years. The complexity of biological systems, however, is easily underestimated. Overlooking key factors in the construction and operation natural systems will severely impact on the success of the man-made model. The fundamental changes that are making biomimetic solutions more viable include: a far greater and ever increasing understanding of biological processes and the ability to more closely replicate natural structures and materials.

The miniaturization of technology is another significant feature that can benefit from biomimetics. Sensing in nature occurs at the molecular level. The sensitivity observed by insects can be measured in terms of nanometer displacements.


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