Bionics

Subject-matter

The word “bionics” was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958 and may be a portmanteau word formed from “biology” and “electronics“. The discipline of bionics represents the effort to turn living Nature's rich inventory of ideas to the purpose of developing technical system. Accordingly, bionics utilises the construction principles and the properties of matter that living organisms have evolved in order to develop novel technological products.

The technological potential of living Nature was recognised centuries ago by Leonardo da Vinci , as he attempted to exploit the principles of bird flight to design a flying machine. In more recent times, considerable success has been enjoyed by technical procedures in which problem-solving strategies have been based upon imitating natural evolution. This approach is due to Ingo Rechenberg among others.

Another area where bionics has had enormous practical importance has been in the application of biological principles in computer science. These have not only led to the development of new high-performance computers and computer architecture (“parallel processors”) but also given rise to the development of the so-called biocomputer by Leonard Adlemann.


       


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