Special Issue "Biomimetics from Concept to Reality"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Julian Vincent
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nature Inspired Manufacturing Centre, School of Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
Interests: biology, materials, fracture mechanics, biomimetics, entomology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last 20 years or so, I have several times been asked to write a comprehensive review of biomimetics. I have resisted, because there were no effective tools giving access to biological solutions for technologists and too few examples of successful implementation of technical concepts and functions derived from biology. It seems that the initial bubble of excitement has given way to a more thoughtful approach, largely because it takes so long (10 to 15 years, perhaps) to turn an idea into a technical reality. Also, in that time the topic areas have broadened out, and more people are involved.

So, I feel no guilt or embarrassment (when did that ever happen?) in continuing to resist writing such a review, since I am no longer able to cover such a wide field with competence. Indeed, it concerns biology, physiology, chemistry, materials, surfaces, medicine, robotics, mathematics, design, engineering and, I suppose, sales and marketing. These topics all have a part to play.

There is another closed loop here, because the first journal called Biomimetics was published in the early 1990s by Plenum, edited by myself and Professor Srinivasan. It was, of course, too early on the scene and foundered. This time around it is all coming together.

Prof. Dr. Julian Vincent
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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 quarterly 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 1400 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

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • materials
  • medicine
  • mathematics
  • design
  • engineering

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Biologically Inspired Surgical Needle Steering: Technology and Application of the Programmable Bevel-Tip Needle
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040068 - 16 Dec 2020
Viewed by 902
Abstract
Percutaneous interventions via minimally invasive surgical systems can provide patients with better outcomes and faster recovery times than open surgeries. Accurate needle insertions are vital for successful procedures, and actively steered needles can increase system precision. Here, we describe how biology inspired the [...] Read more.
Percutaneous interventions via minimally invasive surgical systems can provide patients with better outcomes and faster recovery times than open surgeries. Accurate needle insertions are vital for successful procedures, and actively steered needles can increase system precision. Here, we describe how biology inspired the design of a novel Programmable Bevel-Tip Needle (PBN), mimicking the mechanics and control methods of certain insects ovipositors. Following an overview of our unique research and development journey, this paper explores our latest, biomimetic control of PBNs and its application to neurosurgery, which we validate within a simulated environment. Three modalities are presented, namely a Direct Push Controller, a Cyclic Actuation Controller, and a newly developed Hybrid Controller, which have been integrated into a surgical visual interface. The results of open loop, expert human-in-the-loop and a non-expert user study show that the Hybrid Controller is the best choice when considering system performance and the ability to lesson strain on the surrounding tissue which we hypothesis will result in less damage along the insertion tract. Over representative trajectories for neurosurgery using a Hybrid Controller, an expert user could reach a target along a 3D path with an accuracy of 0.70±0.69 mm, and non-expert users 0.97±0.72 mm, both clinically viable results and equivalent or better than the state-of-the-art actively steered needles over 3D paths. This paper showcases a successful example of a biologically inspired, actively steered needle, which has been integrated within a clinical interface and designed for seamless integration into the neurosurgical workflow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Article
From a Pinecone to Design of an Active Textile
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040052 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1156
Abstract
Botanical nastic systems demonstrate non-directional structural responses to stimuli such as pressure, light, chemicals or temperature; hygronasty refers to systems that respond specifically to moisture. Many seed dispersal mechanisms such as wheat awns, legume pods, spruce and pinecones fall within this classification. The [...] Read more.
Botanical nastic systems demonstrate non-directional structural responses to stimuli such as pressure, light, chemicals or temperature; hygronasty refers to systems that respond specifically to moisture. Many seed dispersal mechanisms such as wheat awns, legume pods, spruce and pinecones fall within this classification. The variety of behaviours varies greatly from opening and closing to self-digging, but the mechanism is based on differential hygroscopic swelling between two adjacent areas of tissue. We describe the application of hygronastic principles specifically within the framework of textiles via the lens of structural hierarchy. Two novel prototypes are presented. One is designed to increase its permeability to airflow in damp conditions and reduce permeability in the dry by 25–30%, a counterintuitive property compared to conventional cotton, wool and rayon textiles that decrease their permeability to airflow as their moisture content increases. The second prototype describes the design and development of a hygroscopic shape changing fibre capable of reducing its length in damp conditions by 40% when compared with dry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Article
Development of the Third Generation of the Dual-Reciprocating Drill
Biomimetics 2020, 5(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5030038 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1331
Abstract
The dual-reciprocating drill (DRD) is a low-mass alternative to traditional drilling techniques biologically inspired by the wood wasp ovipositor, which is used to drill into wood in order to lay its eggs. The DRD reciprocates two halves lined with backwards-facing teeth, enabling it [...] Read more.
The dual-reciprocating drill (DRD) is a low-mass alternative to traditional drilling techniques biologically inspired by the wood wasp ovipositor, which is used to drill into wood in order to lay its eggs. The DRD reciprocates two halves lined with backwards-facing teeth, enabling it to generate traction forces that reduce the required overhead penetration force. While previous research has focused on experimental testing of the drill’s operational and design parameters, numerical simulation techniques are being developed to allow the rapid testing of multiple designs, complementing and informing experimental testing campaigns. The latest DRD design iteration integrated a novel internal actuation mechanism and demonstrated the benefits of adding controlled lateral movements. This paper presents an exploration of how bit morphology affects drilling performance and a preliminary study of discrete element method (DEM) simulations for modelling DRD interactions in regolith. These have shown how regolith grain size and microscopic behaviour significantly affects the performance of different drill designs, and demonstrated how customisable drills can exploit the properties of various substrates. Two system prototypes are also being developed for the DRD’s third generation, each utilising novel actuation and sampling mechanisms. A final drill design will then be deployed from a planetary rover and perform the first DRD drilling and sampling operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Article
Biomimicry of the Hawk Moth, Manduca sexta (L.), Produces an Improved Flapping-Wing Mechanism
Biomimetics 2020, 5(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5020025 - 04 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1305
Abstract
Flapping-wing micro air vehicles (FWMAVs) that mimic the flight capabilities of insects have been sought for decades. Core to the vehicle’s flight capabilities is the mechanism that drives the wings to produce thrust and lift. This article describes a newly designed flapping-wing mechanism [...] Read more.
Flapping-wing micro air vehicles (FWMAVs) that mimic the flight capabilities of insects have been sought for decades. Core to the vehicle’s flight capabilities is the mechanism that drives the wings to produce thrust and lift. This article describes a newly designed flapping-wing mechanism (FWM) inspired by the North American hawk moth, Manduca sexta. Moreover, the hardware, software, and experimental testing methods developed to measure the efficiency of insect-scale flapping-wing systems (i.e., the lift produced per unit of input power) are detailed. The new FWM weighs 1.2 grams without an actuator and wings attached, and its maximum dimensions are 21 × 24 × 11 mm. This FWM requires 402 mW of power to operate, amounting to a 48% power reduction when compared to a previous version. In addition, it generates 1.3 gram-force of lift at a flapping frequency of 21.6 Hz. Results show progress, but they have not yet met the power efficiency of the naturally occurring Manduca sexta. Plans to improve the technique for measuring efficiency are discussed as well as strategies to more closely mimic the efficiency of the Manduca sexta-inspired FWM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Article
Enabling Biomimetic Place-Based Design at Scale
Biomimetics 2020, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5020021 - 18 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1394
Abstract
Amidst the inter-related challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, and population growth, the built environment must be designed in a way that recognises its role in shaping and being shaped by complex social and ecological systems. This includes avoiding the degradation of living [...] Read more.
Amidst the inter-related challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, and population growth, the built environment must be designed in a way that recognises its role in shaping and being shaped by complex social and ecological systems. This includes avoiding the degradation of living systems in the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure, as well as enhancing the built environment’s resilience to disturbance by those systems. This paper explores the potential for biomimetic place-based design (BPD) to inform resilient and regenerative built environment outcomes by learning from local ecosystems. One recognised hurdle is the upfront resourcing required to establish the biomimetic knowledge base for each project. However, conducting BPD projects at-scale (i.e., city or region) can improve the method’s value-proposition by better leveraging upfront research efforts, design concepts, and strategies. This research identifies existing barriers to the widespread adoption of BPD and presents an action framework for capability-building across industry, government, and academia to enable application at-scale. Drawing on findings from workshops in the USA and Australia, it creates a resource for colleagues looking to apply BPD in a city or region and offers next steps for research and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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