'Bionic man' walks, breathes with artificial parts

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, after all. We have the technology. The term "bionic man" was the stuff of science fiction in the 1970s, when a popular TV show called "The Six Million Dollar Man" chronicled the adventures of ...

Printable 'bionic' ear melds electronics and biology

Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can "hear" radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability.

‘Eyeborg’ man films vision of future (w/ video)

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Canadian filmmaker whose childhood hero was Lee Majors as a bionic man is making the most out of what he has done to compensate for having lost one eye by becoming Eyeborg Man. Rob Spence, who lost an eye ...

Medical advances turn science fiction into science fact

Exoskeletons helping the paralysed to walk, tiny maggot-inspired devices gnawing at brain tumours, machines working tirelessly as hospital helpers: in many respects, the future of medicine is already here.

New 'bionic' leg gives amputees a natural gait

A new lower-limb prosthetic developed at Vanderbilt University allows amputees to walk without the leg-dragging gait characteristic of conventional artificial legs.

'Bionic man' goes on show at British musuem

A "bionic man" costing one million dollars went on display on Tuesday at Britain's Science Museum, complete with artificial organs, synthetic blood and robot limbs.

Hand prosthetic gives teen new independence

(PhysOrg.com) -- A 15 year old British girl, Chloe Holmes, has been in the news as being among the youngest in Europe to wear a special prosthetic hand with state of the art bionic fingers. The bionic digits have enabled ...

Science fiction comes to life in Italian lab

Once the preserve of science fiction, increasingly sophisticated robotic devices are vying for a place side by side with humans in the real world.

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Bionics

Bionics (also known as biomimicry, biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, and close to bionical creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.[citation needed]

The word bionic was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, possibly originating from the technical term bion (pronounced bee-on) (from Ancient Greek: βίος), meaning 'unit of life' and the suffix -ic, meaning 'like' or 'in the manner of', hence 'like life'. Some dictionaries, however, explain the word as being formed as a portmanteau from biology + electronics. It was popularized by the 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, which were influenced by Steele's work, and feature humans given superhuman powers by electromechanical implants.

The transfer of technology between lifeforms and manufactures is, according to proponents of bionic technology, desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces living organisms, including fauna and flora, 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).[citation needed]

The term "biomimetic" is preferred when reference is made to chemical reactions.[citation needed] In that domain, biomimetic chemistry refers to reactions that, in nature, involve biological macromolecules (for example, enzymes or nucleic acids) whose chemistry can be replicated using much smaller molecules in vitro.

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 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's department of mechanical engineering (Biomimetics group), that "at present there is only a 12% overlap between biology and technology in terms of the mechanisms used".

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