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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

J.K. Stroble, R.B. Stone and S.E. Watkins

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the wide range of biomimetic sensor technology and innovations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the wide range of biomimetic sensor technology and innovations.

Design/methodology/approach

The reader is introduced to biomimetic sensors, their types, their advantages and how they are different from traditional sensors. Background information is also provided regarding sensor design, inspiration and innovation.

Findings

There are two approaches to sensor design, which lead to diverse advantages and innovations. Classification of biomimetic sensors indicated which natural senses are underutilized by sensor designers and researchers.

Originality/value

The paper provides information of value for those seeking innovative sensor designs and research information for those who want to research in this area.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2013

Victor V. Klemas

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint a wide audience of readers with some of the unique remote sensing and navigation capabilities of animals.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint a wide audience of readers with some of the unique remote sensing and navigation capabilities of animals.

Design/methodology/approach

Biomimetic comparison of remote sensors evolved by animals and sensors designed by man. The study and comparison includes thermal infrared sensors used by snakes, echolocation used by bats and dolphins, and navigation methods used by birds. Countermeasures used by prey to avoid capture are also considered.

Findings

Some animals have remote sensing and navigation capabilities that are considerably more efficient than those provided by the human body or designed by man.

Practical implications

Sensor designers may be encouraged to use the biometic approach in the design of new sensors.

Social implications

The paper provides a better understanding of animal behaviour, especially their unique abilities to remotely sense, echolocate and navigate with high accuracy over considerable distances.

Originality/value

The paper presents a comparison of remote sensors used by animals with those developed by humans. Remote sensor designers can learn to improve their sensor designs by studying animal sensors within a biomimetic framework.

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Yixiang Bian, Can He, Kaixuan Sun, Longchao Dai, Hui Shen, Hong Jin and Junjie Gong

The purpose of this paper is to design and fabricate a three-dimensional (3D) bionic airflow sensing array made of two multi-electrode piezoelectric metal-core fibers…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to design and fabricate a three-dimensional (3D) bionic airflow sensing array made of two multi-electrode piezoelectric metal-core fibers (MPMFs), inspired by the structure of a cricket’s highly sensitive airflow receptor (consisting of two cerci).

Design/methodology/approach

A metal core was positioned at the center of an MPMF and surrounded by a hollow piezoceramic cylinder. Four thin metal films were spray-coated symmetrically on the surface of the fiber that could be used as two pairs of sensor electrodes.

Findings

In 3D space, four output signals of the two MPMFs arrays can form three “8”-shaped spheres. Similarly, the sensing signals for the same airflow are located on a spherical surface.

Originality/value

Two MPMF arrays are sufficient to detect the speed and direction of airflow in all three dimensions.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2014

Thilo Kahl, Herbert Bousack, Erik S. Schneider and Helmut Schmitz

Early detection of forest fires offers the chance to put the fire out before it gets out of control. The purpose of this paper is to look into nature and to learn how…

Abstract

Purpose

Early detection of forest fires offers the chance to put the fire out before it gets out of control. The purpose of this paper is to look into nature and to learn how certain insects detect remote forest fires. A small group of highly specialized insects that have been called pyrophilous is attracted by forest fires and approaches fires sometimes from distances of many kilometers. As a unique feature some of these insects are equipped with infrared (IR) receptors, which in case of two species of jewel beetles (family Buprestidae) are used for fire detection.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper has investigated the IR receptors of the pyrophilous beetles with various morphological techniques including scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, neuroanatomy and the paper also investigated the thermo-/mechanical properties of the IR receptors by nanoindentation. Data were used for subsequent modeling of a biomimetic technical sensor. Finally, a macroscopic prototype was built and tested.

Findings

This biological principle was transferred into a new kind of uncooled technical IR receptor. A simple model for this biological IR sensor is a modified Golay sensor in which the gas has been replaced by a liquid. Here, the absorbed IR radiation results in a pressure increase of the liquid and the deflection of a thin membrane. For the evaluation of this model, analytical formulas are presented, which permits the calculation of the pressure increase in the cavity, the deformation of the membrane and the time constant of an artificial leak to compensate ambient temperature changes. Some organic liquids with high thermal expansion coefficients may improve the deflection of the membrane compared to water.

Originality/value

Results so far obtained suggest that it seems promising to take the photomechanic IR receptors of pyrophilous jewel beetles as models for the building of new uncooled IR sensors. The beetle receptors have been shaped by evolution since thousands of years and, therefore, can be considered as highly optimized sources of inspiration for new technical sensors suitable for remote fire detection.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Alex M. Andrew

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Drew van der Riet, Riaan Stopforth, Glen Bright and Olaf Diegel

This paper aims to explore the electronic design of the Touch Hand: a low-cost electrically powered prosthetic hand. The hand is equipped with an array of sensors allowing…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the electronic design of the Touch Hand: a low-cost electrically powered prosthetic hand. The hand is equipped with an array of sensors allowing for position control and haptic sensation. Pressure sensors are used on the fingertips to detect grip force. A temperature sensor placed in the fingertip is used to measure the contact temperature of objects. Investigations are made into the use of cantilever vibration sensors to detect surface texture and object slippage. The hand is capable of performing a lateral grip of 3.7 N, a power grip of 19.5 N and to passively hold a weight of up to 8 kg with a hook grip. The hand is also tested on an amputee and used to perform basic tasks. The amputee took 30 min to learn how to operate the hands basic gripping functions.

Design/methodology/approach

Problems of previous prosthetic hands were investigated, followed by ways to improve or have similar capabilities, yet keeping in mind to reduce the price. The hand was then designed, simulated, developed and then tested. The hand was then displayed to public and tested with an amputee.

Findings

The Touch Hand’s capabilities with the usage of the low-cost materials, components and sensory system was obtained in the tests that were conducted. The results are shown in this paper to identify the appropriateness of the sensors for a usage while the costs are reduced. Furthermore, models were developed from the results obtained to take into account factors such as the non-slip material.

Research limitations/implications

The research was restricted to a US$1,000 budget to allow the availability of a low-cost prosthetic hand.

Practical implications

The Touch Hand had to have the ability to supply the amputee with haptic feedback while allowing the basic grasping of objects. The commercial value is the availability of an affordable prosthetic hand that can be used by amputees in Africa and other Lower-Income countries, yet allowing a more advanced control system compared to the pure mechanical systems currently available.

Social implications

The Touch Hand has the ability to give amputees affected in war situations the ability to grasp objects in a more affordable manner compared to the current available options. Feedback from amputees about the current features of the Touch Hand was very positive and it proves to be a way to improve society in Lower-Income countries in the near future. A sponsorship program is being developed to assist amputees with the costs of the Touch Hand.

Originality/value

The contributions of this research is a low-cost prototype system than can be commercialized to allow amputees in the Lower-Income countries to have the ability of a prosthetic hand. A sensory system in the hand is also explained which other low-cost prosthetic hands do not have, which includes temperature, force and vibration. Models of the sensors used that are developed and calibrated to the design of the hand are also described.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide an insight into recent biomimetic sensor developments.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an insight into recent biomimetic sensor developments.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a brief introduction, this paper considers a number of specific sensor R&D activities which involve the use of differing biomimetic concepts, including the fabrication of artificial sensing organs, emulating human senses, novel uses of biological structures and systems exploiting biologically‐inspired behaviour.

Findings

This paper shows that a range of different biomimetic design concepts are being applied to sensors that respond to a range of physical, gaseous and chemical variables. Robust, multi‐sensor systems are being developed which emulate biologically‐inspired behaviour.

Originality/value

This paper provides an up to date technical review of a range of differing biomimetic sensor designs and concepts.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 April 2013

Zhuming Bi

Abstract

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2008

Torben Lenau, Hyunmin Cheong and Li Shu

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how biomimetics can be applied in sensor design. Biomimetics is an engineering discipline that uses nature as an inspiration…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how biomimetics can be applied in sensor design. Biomimetics is an engineering discipline that uses nature as an inspiration source for generating ideas for how to solve engineering problems. The paper reviews a number of biomimetic studies of sense organs in animals and illustrates how a formal search method developed at University of Toronto can be applied to sensor design.

Design/methodology/approach

Using biomimetics involves a search for relevant cases, a proper analysis of the biological solutions, identification of design principles and design of the desired artefact. The present search method is based on formulation of relevant keywords and search for occurrences in a standard university biology textbook. Most often a simple formulation of keywords and a following search is not enough to generate a sufficient amount of useful ideas or the search gives too many results. This is handled by a more advanced search strategy where the search is either widened or it is focused further mainly using biological synonyms.

Findings

A major problem in biomimetic design is finding the relevant analogies to actual design tasks in nature.

Research limitations/implications

Biomimetics can be a challenge to engineers due to the terminology from another scientific discipline.

Practical implications

Using a formalised search method is a way of solving the problem of finding the relevant biological analogies.

Originality/value

The paper is of value as most present biomimetic research is focused on the understanding of biological phenomena and does not have as much focus on the engineering design challenges.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Thomas Hesselberg

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the recent research on the interaction between flight mechanics and sensory/control systems in flies. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the recent research on the interaction between flight mechanics and sensory/control systems in flies. It furthermore, explores the application to biomimetic micro‐air vehicles (MAVs).

Design/methodology/approach

A review of recent literature on flight in flies is given first, whereafter two biomimetic case studies are discussed; the optic flow sensor developed by a French team and the micro‐mechanical flying insect project at the University of Berkeley.

Findings

The paper discusses the many areas where biological knowledge on flight in flies can be used by designers of MAVs.

Practical implications

Fully autonomous MAVs, inspired by insect flight, could be useful in a wide range of areas including search‐and‐rescue, surveillance and for military purposes.

Originality/value

The paper gives an up to date overview of dipteran flight behaviour and points to ways in which this knowledge can be applied to MAVs. The paper should thus be useful for biologists wishing to collaborate with engineers as well as for engineers and sensor designers seeking inspiration from nature.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

1 – 10 of 379