Robotic exoskeletons that allow stroke survivors to regain use of their limbs, 3D-printed replacement body parts, and dozens of other innovations still in schematic design are revolutionizing the treatment of debilitating injuries and nervous system disorders. What all these technologies have in common is that they are modeled after engineering strategies found in nature—strategies developed by a vast array of organisms over eons of evolutionary trial and error.
Eugene Goldfield lays out many principles of engineering found in the natural world, with a focus on how evolutionary and developmental adaptations, such as sensory organs and spinal cords, function within complex organisms. He shows how the component parts of highly coordinated structures organize themselves into autonomous functional systems. For example, when people walk, spinal cord neurons generate coordinated signals that continuously reorganize patterns of muscle activations during the gait cycle. This self-organizing capacity is just one of many qualities that allow biological systems to be robust, adaptive, anticipatory, and self-repairing. To exploit the full potential of technologies designed to interact seamlessly with human bodies, properties like these must be better understood and harnessed at every level, from molecules to cells to organ systems.
Bioinspired Devices brings together insights from a wide range of fields. A member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Goldfield offers an insider’s view of cutting-edge research, and envisions a future in which synthetic and biological devices share energy sources and control, blurring the boundary between nature and medicine.
The book is fact-packed and beautifully crafted… Bioinspired Devices provides a fascinating way into one of biomedicine’s most complex fields. While Goldfield writes with both erudition and elegance, he has a wonderfully popular touch and a keen sense of humor that has him drawing on Wallace and Gromit and Star Trek (and more) to help with key explanations. It is a book that will not only leave you with a deep respect for research into copying nature, but also in awe of nature itself and how it does so much with so little.
Bioinspired Devices: Emulating Nature’s Assembly and Repair Process is a reliquary of nature’s wonders, exploring how cells, organisms, and living systems form and function. Goldfield explains how new insights about these natural building processes are now being leveraged to create ‘biologically inspired’ engineering innovations, from medical devices to robot swarms. After reading this book, you will look at the world in an entirely new way.
Bioinspired Devices takes us on a fascinating journey between nature and engineering. Goldfield extracts key principles for how living systems grow and function and proposes that they be applied to the design of better machines and prostheses. Combining an incredibly rich set of observations from neuroscience, bioengineering, biomechanics, ecology, and more, this book is a stimulating read for anyone interested in living systems and the construction of biologically-inspired devices.
Bioinspired Devices explores modern bioengineering’s dance between technology and nature, illuminating how the concepts of resiliency, self-repair, and environmental harmony are more evident today than ever before.
Bioinspired Devices presents an original, erudite perspective on how to emulate fundamental characteristics of living systems—self repair, robustness, development, and emergence—in order to engineer bioinspired solutions to neurological disorders. Goldfield builds on his extensive experience with dynamical systems, at Boston Children’s Hospital and via collaborations with Harvard’s Wyss Institute, to discuss challenges and opportunities in unravelling and emulating nature’s principles to build neuroprosthetic devices and pathways to rehabilitation.
- 480 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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