Despite tremendous progress in neuroscience, ICT and related fields we are still unable to build systems that are comparable with even simple insect brains with respect to function, energy sufficiency or computational power. One promising approach to answer this challenge is to translate principles underlying the abilities of natural systems into new technologies. Such an advance would entail major impacts, particularly in the areas of robotics, brain-machine interfacing, quality of life and health and nanotechnology applied to life sciences. In parallel this paradigm would boost our fundamental understanding of mind and brain: ourselves.
A clear example of advance in the field of biomimetics is given by the rodents wisker system. The Shrewbot, is a robot inspired and designed after the Shrew wiskers.
This robot was developed at Bristol Laboratory in the UK in collaboration with BIOTACT, a EU funded project that developed new technologies inspired by the whisker morphology and neural processing systems of two tactile specialists: the Norwegian rat and the Etruscan shrew.