Bionics (also known as biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical
creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature
to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. The word bionic was
coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, possibly originating from the Greek word ÃƒÅ¸???, bÃƒÂon,
pronounced [bi:on] ("bee-on"), meaning 'unit of life' and the suffix -ic, meaning 'like' or
'in the manner of', hence 'like life'. Some dictionaries, however, explain the word as being
formed from biology + electronics.
The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is, according to
proponents of bionic technology, desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces
living organisms, including fauna and flora, to become highly optimized and efficient. A
classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the
observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything
(the lotus effect).
The term "biomimetic" is prefered when reference is made to chemical reactions. In that
domain, biomimetic chemistry refers to reactions that, in nature, involve biological
macromolecules (for example, enzymes or nucleic acids) whose chemistry can be replicated
using much smaller molecules in vitro .
Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of
dolphins; sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats.
In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced artificial neurons,
artificial neural networks , and swarm intelligence. Evolutionary computation was also
motivated by bionics ideas but it took the idea further by simulating evolution in silico
and producing well-optimized solutions that had never appeared in nature. It is estimated by
Julian Vincent, professor of biomimetics at the University of Bath in the UK, that "at
present there is only a 10% overlap between biology and technology in terms of the