The development of future real-world technologies will depend strongly on our understanding and harnessing of the principles underlying living systems and the flow of communication signals between living and artificial systems.
Biomimetics is the development of novel technologies through the distillation of principles from the study of biological systems. The investigation of biomimetic systems can serve two complementary goals.
First, a suitably designed and configured biomimetic artefact can be used to test theories about the natural system of interest. Second, biomimetic technologies can provide useful, elegant and efficient solutions to unsolved challenges in science and engineering. Biohybrid systems are formed by combining at least one biological component--an existing living system--and at least one artificial, newly-engineered component. By passing information in one or both directions, such a system forms a new hybrid bio-artificial entity. The following are some examples:
- Biomimetic robots and their component technologies (sensors, actuators, processors) that can intelligently interact with their environments.
- Active biomimetic materials and structures that self-organize and self-repair.
- Biomimetic computers--neuromimetic emulations of the physiological basis for intelligent behaviour.
- Biohybrid brain-machine interfaces and neural implants.
- Artificial organs and body-parts including sensory organ-chip hybrids and intelligent prostheses.
- Organism-level biohybrids such as robot-animal or robot-human systems.