Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bionics (from German "Bionik" or technique from nature) is application of biological analogies for the study and design of engineering systems. In a more specific meaning, it is a creativity technique that tries to use biological prototypes to get ideas for engineering solutions. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological organisms and their organs have been well optimized by evolution.
Examples of bionics results in engineering include hulls of boats imitating the skin membrane of dolphins, sonar, radar and medical ultrasound imaging imitating echolocation of bats, non-stick coating imitating lotus effect.
In the field of computer science, bionics approach has produced Cybernetics, Artificial neuron, Artificial Neural Networks, Swarm intelligence. Evolutionary computation was also motivated by bionics idea but it took the idea further by simulating evolution 'in silico' and producing well optimized solutions that had never appeared in nature.
Often bionics approach emphasizes imitation of a biological structure rather than a mere implementation of the same function. For example, in computer science, cybernetics tries to model actual organic structures that make us intelligent, while artificial intelligence tries to model the intelligent function regardless of the particular way it can be achieved.
A less common and maybe more recent meaning of the term "bionics" refers to merging organism and machine. This approach results in a hybrid systems combining biological and engineering parts, which can also be referred as cybernetic organism (cyborg). See also implant, prosthesis, and bionics (medical).
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