Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity

A special issue of Biomimetics (ISSN 2313-7673).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 9500

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Zoological Institute, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Interests: biological attachment; functional morphology; biomechanics; biotribology; biomimetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Plant Biomechanics Group, Botanic Garden, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestraße 1, D 79104 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: functional morphology and biomechanics of plants; plant–animal interactions; bioinspired materials systems, structures, and surfaces; phylogeny of plants and functional structures; paleobotany; scientific education and training in Botanic Gardens
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Interests: biological and bio-inspired composite materials; osteoporosis and bone regeneration; biomaterials; mechanosensors and actuators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biomimetics research on living systems attempts to transfer their properties to engineering applications. Biological materials, structures, and processes are predominantly based on the combination of various effects at different scales: from the nano- through to the micro-, meso-, and, finally, the macroscale. This Special Issue is devoted to the latest advances in biomimetics in its all subfields: (1) materials and structures; (2) designs, constructions, and devices; (3) surfaces and interfaces; (4) architecture and climatization; (5) locomotion and bioinspired robotics; (6) sensorics, information processing and control; (7) chemical biomimetics; and (8) energy biomimetics. We also encourage the submission of manuscripts that explore the relationships between these mentioned topics and especially those devoted to the development of biomimetic methodologies.

Papers from biological fields focusing on the proper identification of the underlying principles in nature, and manuscripts that apply the findings on existing systems to modern technologies, are welcomed. This Special Issue of Biomimetics calls for theoretical, experimental, and review contributions from researchers from the fields of biology, physics, material science, engineering, and all researchers who are engaged in this fast-growing field of science.

Prof. Dr. Stanislav N. Gorb
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Carbone
Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck
Prof. Dr. Peter Fratzl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biomimetics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomimetics of materials and structures
  • biomimetic design, constructions, and devices
  • biomimetic surfaces and interfaces
  • bioinspired architecture and climatization
  • locomotion and bioinspired robotics
  • bioinspired sensorics, information processing and control
  • biomimetic processing, optimisation, management
  • biomimetic processing and molecular biomimetics
  • energy biomimetics
  • development of biomimetic methodology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

14 pages, 3630 KiB  
Article
TriTrap: A Robotic Gripper Inspired by Insect Tarsal Chains
by Julian Winand, Thies H. Büscher and Stanislav N. Gorb
Biomimetics 2024, 9(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9030142 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1231
Abstract
Gripping, holding, and moving objects are among the main functional purposes of robots. Ever since automation first took hold in society, optimizing these functions has been of high priority, and a multitude of approaches has been taken to enable cheaper, more reliable, and [...] Read more.
Gripping, holding, and moving objects are among the main functional purposes of robots. Ever since automation first took hold in society, optimizing these functions has been of high priority, and a multitude of approaches has been taken to enable cheaper, more reliable, and more versatile gripping. Attempts are ongoing to reduce grippers’ weight, energy consumption, and production and maintenance costs while simultaneously improving their reliability, the range of eligible objects, working loads, and environmental independence. While the upper bounds of precision and flexibility have been pushed to an impressive level, the corresponding solutions are often dependent on support systems (e.g., sophisticated sensors and complex actuation machinery), advanced control paradigms (e.g., artificial intelligence and machine learning), and typically require more maintenance owed to their complexity, also increasing their cost. These factors make them unsuited for more modest applications, where moderate to semi-high performance is desired, but simplicity is required. In this paper, we attempt to highlight the potential of the tarsal chain principle on the example of a prototype biomimetic gripping device called the TriTrap gripper, inspired by the eponymous tarsal chain of insects. Insects possess a rigid exoskeleton that receives mobility due to several joints and internally attaching muscles. The tarsus (foot) itself does not contain any major intrinsic muscles but is moved by an extrinsically pulled tendon. Just like its biological counterpart, the TriTrap gripping device utilizes strongly underactuated digits that perform their function using morphological encoding and passive conformation, resulting in a gripper that is versatile, robust, and low cost. Its gripping performance was tested on a variety of everyday objects, each of which represented different size, weight, and shape categories. The TriTrap gripper was able to securely hold most of the tested objects in place while they were lifted, rotated, and transported without further optimization. These results show that the insect tarsus selected approach is viable and warrants further development, particularly in the direction of interface optimization. As such, the main goal of the TriTrap gripper, which was to showcase the tarsal chain principle as a viable approach to gripping in general, was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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15 pages, 6304 KiB  
Article
Capillary Wicking on Heliamphora minor-Mimicking Mesoscopic Trichomes Array
by Fenglin Chen, Ziyang Cheng, Lei Jiang and Zhichao Dong
Biomimetics 2024, 9(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9020102 - 9 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Liquid spontaneously spreads on rough lyophilic surfaces, and this is driven by capillarity and defined as capillary wicking. Extensive studies on microtextured surfaces have been applied to microfluidics and their corresponding manufacturing. However, the imbibition at mesoscale roughness has seldom been studied due [...] Read more.
Liquid spontaneously spreads on rough lyophilic surfaces, and this is driven by capillarity and defined as capillary wicking. Extensive studies on microtextured surfaces have been applied to microfluidics and their corresponding manufacturing. However, the imbibition at mesoscale roughness has seldom been studied due to lacking fabrication techniques. Inspired by the South American pitcher plant Heliamphora minor, which wicks water on its pubescent inside wall for lubrication and drainage, we implemented 3D printing to fabricate a mimetic mesoscopic trichomes array and investigated the high-flux capillary wicking process. Unlike a uniformly thick climbing film on a microtextured surface, the interval filling of millimeter-long and submillimeter-pitched trichomes creates a film of non-uniform thickness. Different from the viscous dissipation that dominated the spreading on microtextured surfaces, we unveiled an inertia-dominated transition regime with mesoscopic wicking dynamics and constructed a scaling law such that the height grows to 2/3 the power of time for various conditions. Finally, we examined the mass transportation inside the non-uniformly thick film, mimicking a plant nutrition supply method, and realized an open system siphon in the film, with the flux saturation condition experimentally determined. This work explores capillary wicking in mesoscopic structures and has potential applications in the design of low-cost high-flux open fluidics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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13 pages, 7610 KiB  
Article
Bioinspire-Explore: Taxonomy-Driven Exploration of Biodiversity Data for Bioinspired Innovation
by Adrien Saint-Sardos, Annabelle Aish, Nikolay Tchakarov, Thierry Bourgoin, Luce-Marie Petit, Jian-Sheng Sun and Régine Vignes-Lebbe
Biomimetics 2024, 9(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9020063 - 23 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Successful bioinspired design depends on practitioners’ access to biological data in a relevant form. Although multiple open-access biodiversity databases exist, their presentation is often adapted to life scientists, rather than bioinspired designers. In this paper, we present a new tool, “Bioinspire-Explore”, for navigating [...] Read more.
Successful bioinspired design depends on practitioners’ access to biological data in a relevant form. Although multiple open-access biodiversity databases exist, their presentation is often adapted to life scientists, rather than bioinspired designers. In this paper, we present a new tool, “Bioinspire-Explore”, for navigating biodiversity data in order to uncover biological systems of interest for a range of sectors. Bioinspire-Explore allows users to search for inspiring biological models via taxa (species, genera, etc.) as an entry point. It provides information on a taxon’s position in the “tree of life”, its distribution and climatic niche, as well as its appearance. Bioinspire-Explore also shows users connections in the bioinspiration literature between their taxon of interest and associated biological processes, habitats, and physical measurements by way of their semantic proximity. We believe Bioinspire-Explore has the potential to become an indispensable resource for both biologists and bioinspired designers in different fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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19 pages, 1553 KiB  
Article
Target-Following Control of a Biomimetic Autonomous System Based on Predictive Reinforcement Learning
by Yu Wang, Jian Wang, Song Kang and Junzhi Yu
Biomimetics 2024, 9(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9010033 - 4 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Biological fish often swim in a schooling manner, the mechanism of which comes from the fact that these schooling movements can improve the fishes’ hydrodynamic efficiency. Inspired by this phenomenon, a target-following control framework for a biomimetic autonomous system is proposed in this [...] Read more.
Biological fish often swim in a schooling manner, the mechanism of which comes from the fact that these schooling movements can improve the fishes’ hydrodynamic efficiency. Inspired by this phenomenon, a target-following control framework for a biomimetic autonomous system is proposed in this paper. Firstly, a following motion model is established based on the mechanism of fish schooling swimming, in which the follower robotic fish keeps a certain distance and orientation from the leader robotic fish. Second, by incorporating a predictive concept into reinforcement learning, a predictive deep deterministic policy gradient-following controller is provided with the normalized state space, action space, reward, and prediction design. It can avoid overshoot to a certain extent. A nonlinear model predictive controller is designed and can be selected for the follower robotic fish, together with the predictive reinforcement learning. Finally, extensive simulations are conducted, including the fix point and dynamic target following for single robotic fish, as well as cooperative following with the leader robotic fish. The obtained results indicate the effectiveness of the proposed methods, providing a valuable sight for the cooperative control of underwater robots to explore the ocean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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16 pages, 3090 KiB  
Article
Locomotory Behavior of Water Striders with Amputated Legs
by Javad Meshkani, Hamed Rajabi, Alexander Kovalev and Stanislav N. Gorb
Biomimetics 2023, 8(7), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics8070524 - 4 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
The stability of the body during locomotion is a fundamental requirement for walking animals. The mechanisms that coordinate leg movement patterns are even more complex at water–air interfaces. Water striders are agile creatures on the water surface, but they can be vulnerable to [...] Read more.
The stability of the body during locomotion is a fundamental requirement for walking animals. The mechanisms that coordinate leg movement patterns are even more complex at water–air interfaces. Water striders are agile creatures on the water surface, but they can be vulnerable to leg damage, which can impair their movement. One can assume the presence of certain compensatory biomechanical factors that are involved in the maintenance of postural balance lost after an amputation. Here, we studied changes in load distribution among the legs and assessed the effects of amputation on the locomotory behavior and postural defects that may increase the risk of locomotion failure. Apparently, amputees recover a stable posture by applying leg position modifications (e.g., widening the stance) and by load redistribution to the remaining legs. Water striders showed steering failure after amputation in all cases. Amputations affected locomotion by (1) altering motion features (e.g., shorter swing duration of midlegs), (2) functional constraints on legs, (3) shorter travelled distances, and (4) stronger deviations in the locomotion path. The legs functionally interact with each other, and removal of one leg has detrimental effects on the others. This research may assist the bioinspired design of aquatic robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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Review

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24 pages, 11426 KiB  
Review
Metachronal Motion of Biological and Artificial Cilia
by Zhiwei Cui, Ye Wang and Jaap M. J. den Toonder
Biomimetics 2024, 9(4), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9040198 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2496
Abstract
Cilia are slender, hair-like cell protrusions that are present ubiquitously in the natural world. They perform essential functions, such as generating fluid flow, propulsion, and feeding, in organisms ranging from protozoa to the human body. The coordinated beating of cilia, which results in [...] Read more.
Cilia are slender, hair-like cell protrusions that are present ubiquitously in the natural world. They perform essential functions, such as generating fluid flow, propulsion, and feeding, in organisms ranging from protozoa to the human body. The coordinated beating of cilia, which results in wavelike motions known as metachrony, has fascinated researchers for decades for its role in functions such as flow generation and mucus transport. Inspired by nature, researchers have explored diverse materials for the fabrication of artificial cilia and developed several methods to mimic the metachronal motion observed in their biological counterparts. In this review, we will introduce the different types of metachronal motion generated by both biological and artificial cilia, the latter including pneumatically, photonically, electrically, and magnetically driven artificial cilia. Furthermore, we review the possible applications of metachronal motion by artificial cilia, focusing on flow generation, transport of mucus, particles, and droplets, and microrobotic locomotion. The overall aim of this review is to offer a comprehensive overview of the metachronal motions exhibited by diverse artificial cilia and the corresponding practical implementations. Additionally, we identify the potential future directions within this field. These insights present an exciting opportunity for further advancements in this domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomimetics: The Power of Diversity)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative title and abstract:

 

Metachronal motion of artificial cilia – a review

 

Cilia are slender hair-like cell protrusions, which are present ubiquitously in the natural world. They perform essential functions, such as generating fluid flow, propulsion, and feeding, in organisms ranging from protozoa to the human body. The coordinated beating of cilia which results in wavelike motion known as metachrony, has fascinated researchers for decades for its role in functions such as flow generation and mucus transport. Inspired by nature, researchers have explored diverse materials for the fabrication of artificial cilia and developed several methods to mimic the metachronal motion observed in their biological counterparts. In this review, we will introduce the different types of metachronal motion generated by both biological and artificial cilia, the latter including pneumatically, photonically, electrically, and magnetically driven artificial cilia. Furthermore, we review the possible applications of metachronal motion by artificial cilia, focusing on flow generation, transport of mucus, particles, and droplets, and microrobotic locomotion. The overall aim of this review is to offer a comprehensive overview of the metachronal motions exhibited by diverse artificial cilia and the corresponding practical implementations. Additionally, we identify the potential future directions within this field. These insights present an exciting opportunity for further advancements in this domain.

 

Authorship:

 

                Zhiwei Cui, Ye Wang and Jaap M.J. den Toonder

 

Affiliation:

 

Microsystems Research Section, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology

and

Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology.

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