Biomimetic file 128: soft bionics

Biomimetic file 128: soft bionics

Picture source: Ociacia

Highlight: “At present, most bionic assist devices are made from rigid materials such as metals and plastics, and are driven by conventional motors and gearboxes. These technologies are well established but their hardness and rigidity can be a great disadvantage. In nature, soft materials such as muscles and skin predominate, and as humans we find comfort in soft materials, such as holding hands or sitting on a sofa.”

Insight: In terms of efficiency softer materials tend to be a better approach as they can dynamically adapt to the surrounding conditions. A good example would be modern aircrafts which are very static in design as opposed to birds that can constantly shape their curves (body shapes, soft bones, muscles, feathers) according to different environmental conditions encountered throughout the flight. The reality is that we live in dynamic environments that require likewise dynamic materials to insure an efficient interaction. The future of design relies in our ability to mimic natural systems with soft and flexible materials that can be dynamically reshaped at will; new strong and lightweight materials such as Graphene combined with increased computer processing capabilities could well make this possible in a near future…

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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…


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