Special Issue "Biomimetic Design and Techniques for Space Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Alex Ellery
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Interests: space robotics; design of serviceable satellites; on-orbit satellite servicing; design and analysis of planetary rovers; design of entry, descent and landing systems for planetary exploration; robotic drills and instrumentation for astrobiological surveys; biomimetic design for space applications
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bioinspired engineering has become increasingly popular over the last decade or more, whereby biological organisms have inspired engineering solutions to human problems. Biological organisms are crafted through evolution by natural selection, permitting solutions that are inherently different from those designed through rational engineering processes. Bioinspiration however does not imply blind aping of biology but requires the human engineer to abstract biological solutions in form suitable to the engineered application. For space application, we must abstract biological principles from terrestrial biology that evolved on Earth and apply them to alien environments for which no extraterrestrial organisms exist as models. The space environment, and planetary environments in particular, offer a diverse variety of physical conditions that are challenging to the engineer and require considerable ingenuity of design in our exploration machines. Nature potentially offers lessons that can be applied to engineering of spacecraft, landers, rovers, submersible, aircraft and other vehicles for exploring beyond Earth. This Special Issue on “Biomimetic Design and Techniques for Space Application” seeks to bring together a snapshot of state-of-the-art biomimetic approaches to all aspects of space mission analysis and design including biomimetic applications to space robotics. We envisage that providing open access will offer a wide readership with a broad exposure to biomimetics in challenging environments that will spur further growth in biomimetics in providing innovative solutions to the difficult problems encountered in spaceflight. We invite submissions across the broadest spectrum of bioinspiration applied to space exploration.

Dr. Alex Ellery
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

  • biomaterials
  • structure and biomechanism
  • mobility systems
  • cybernetics
  • neural networks
  • evolutionary techniques
  • sensors
  • vision
  • actuators
  • bioelectronics
  • artificial intelligence
  • biorobotics
  • scientific instruments

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
How to Build a Biological Machine Using Engineering Materials and Methods
Biomimetics 2020, 5(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5030035 - 26 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1291
Abstract
We present work in 3D printing electric motors from basic materials as the key to building a self-replicating machine to colonise the Moon. First, we explore the nature of the biological realm to ascertain its essence, particularly in relation to the origin of [...] Read more.
We present work in 3D printing electric motors from basic materials as the key to building a self-replicating machine to colonise the Moon. First, we explore the nature of the biological realm to ascertain its essence, particularly in relation to the origin of life when the inanimate became animate. We take an expansive view of this to ascertain parallels between the biological and the manufactured worlds. Life must have emerged from the available raw material on Earth and, similarly, a self-replicating machine must exploit and leverage the available resources on the Moon. We then examine these lessons to explore the construction of a self-replicating machine using a universal constructor. It is through the universal constructor that the actuator emerges as critical. We propose that 3D printing constitutes an analogue of the biological ribosome and that 3D printing may constitute a universal construction mechanism. Following a description of our progress in 3D printing motors, we suggest that this engineering effort can inform biology, that motors are a key facet of living organisms and illustrate the importance of motors in biology viewed from the perspective of engineering (in the Feynman spirit of “what I cannot create, I cannot understand”). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Design and Techniques for Space Applications)
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Article
Bioinspired Optical Sensor for Remote Measurement of Small Displacements at a Distance
Biomimetics 2018, 3(4), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics3040034 - 30 Oct 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1586
Abstract
Identifying appropriate sites for landing a spacecraft or building permanent structures is critical for extraterrestrial exploration. By tracking the movement of land masses and structures on a planetary surface, scientists can better predict issues that could affect the integrity of the site or [...] Read more.
Identifying appropriate sites for landing a spacecraft or building permanent structures is critical for extraterrestrial exploration. By tracking the movement of land masses and structures on a planetary surface, scientists can better predict issues that could affect the integrity of the site or structures. A lightweight, low-cost, low-power bioinspired optical sensor is being developed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center to remotely measure small displacements of land masses on either side of a fault. This paper describes the sensor, which is inspired by the compound eye vision system found in many insects, and the algorithms developed to estimate displacement. The results are presented for indoor and outdoor tests using the sensor to measure the displacement of a specially designed target that is located 0.35, 6, and 30 m from the sensor and is moved 10 mm to the left and right of a centered position, simulating the displacement of land masses on either side of a fault. Measurement uncertainties estimates were a few tenths of a millimeter when the target was located 0.35 and 6 m from the sensor. At the 30 m distance, corrections were required to obtain accuracies in the order of 1 mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Design and Techniques for Space Applications)
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Review

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Review
Tutorial Review of Bio-Inspired Approaches to Robotic Manipulation for Space Debris Salvage
Biomimetics 2020, 5(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5020019 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1321
Abstract
We present a comprehensive tutorial review that explores the application of bio-inspired approaches to robot control systems for grappling and manipulating a wide range of space debris targets. Current robot manipulator control systems exploit limited techniques which can be supplemented by additional bio-inspired [...] Read more.
We present a comprehensive tutorial review that explores the application of bio-inspired approaches to robot control systems for grappling and manipulating a wide range of space debris targets. Current robot manipulator control systems exploit limited techniques which can be supplemented by additional bio-inspired methods to provide a robust suite of robot manipulation technologies. In doing so, we review bio-inspired control methods because this will be the key to enabling such capabilities. In particular, force feedback control may be supplemented with predictive forward models and software emulation of viscoelastic preflexive joint behaviour. This models human manipulation capabilities as implemented by the cerebellum and muscles/joints respectively. In effect, we are proposing a three-level control strategy based on biomimetic forward models for predictive estimation, traditional feedback control and biomimetic muscle-like preflexes. We place emphasis on bio-inspired forward modelling suggesting that all roads lead to this solution for robust and adaptive manipulator control. This promises robust and adaptive manipulation for complex tasks in salvaging space debris. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Design and Techniques for Space Applications)
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