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Bionics
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Bionics

Bionics means the replacement or enhancement of organs or other body parts by mechanical versions. Bionic implants differ from mere prostheses by mimicing the original function very closely, or even surpassing it.

Bionics' German equivalent "Bionik" takes a somewhat broader scope in that it tries to develop engineering solutions from biological models. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological solutions will always be optimized by evolutionary forces. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observeration that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (lotus effect).

While the technologies that make bionic implants possible are still in a very early stage, a few bionic items already exist, the best known being the cochlear implant, a device for deaf people. Some versions come quite close to "normal" hearing; they can even work better than natural ears at background noise filtering. By 2004 fully functional artificial hearts were developed. Significant further progress is expected to take place with the advent of nanotechnologies. A well known example of a proposed nanodevice is a respirocyte, an artificial red blood cell, designed (though not built yet) by Robert Freitas.

Bionics are a common element of science fiction, with The Six Million Dollar Man as the probably best-known example. A popular German book on bionics is Warum Fliegen sich im Kino langweilen ('Why flies get bored in the cinema') by Helga Kleisny (ISBN 3831101558).

This is an area of biophysics and is also known as biomechanics. It is related to the development of exoskeleton's.

Reference