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Biomimicry (also known as biomimetics, biognosis, bionics, or bionical creativity engineering) is the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. Also a short form of biomechanics, the word 'bionic' is actually a portmanteau formed from biology (from the Greek word "βιος", pronounced "vios", meaning "life") and electronic.
The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces natural systems to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (the lotus effect). Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of dolphins, sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats.
In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced cybernetics, artificial neurons, artificial neural networks, and swarm intelligence. Evolutionary computation was also motivated by bionics ideas but it took the idea further by simulating evolution in silico and producing well-optimized solutions that had never appeared in nature.
It is estimated by Julian Vincent, professor of biomimetics at the University of Bath in the UK, that "at present there is only a 10% overlap between biology and technology in terms of the mechanisms used".
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