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Biomimetics, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 23 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Biologically Inspired Surgical Needle Steering: Technology and Application of the Programmable Bevel-Tip Needle
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040068 - 16 Dec 2020
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Percutaneous interventions via minimally invasive surgical systems can provide patients with better outcomes and faster recovery times than open surgeries. Accurate needle insertions are vital for successful procedures, and actively steered needles can increase system precision. Here, we describe how biology inspired the [...] Read more.
Percutaneous interventions via minimally invasive surgical systems can provide patients with better outcomes and faster recovery times than open surgeries. Accurate needle insertions are vital for successful procedures, and actively steered needles can increase system precision. Here, we describe how biology inspired the design of a novel Programmable Bevel-Tip Needle (PBN), mimicking the mechanics and control methods of certain insects ovipositors. Following an overview of our unique research and development journey, this paper explores our latest, biomimetic control of PBNs and its application to neurosurgery, which we validate within a simulated environment. Three modalities are presented, namely a Direct Push Controller, a Cyclic Actuation Controller, and a newly developed Hybrid Controller, which have been integrated into a surgical visual interface. The results of open loop, expert human-in-the-loop and a non-expert user study show that the Hybrid Controller is the best choice when considering system performance and the ability to lesson strain on the surrounding tissue which we hypothesis will result in less damage along the insertion tract. Over representative trajectories for neurosurgery using a Hybrid Controller, an expert user could reach a target along a 3D path with an accuracy of 0.70±0.69 mm, and non-expert users 0.97±0.72 mm, both clinically viable results and equivalent or better than the state-of-the-art actively steered needles over 3D paths. This paper showcases a successful example of a biologically inspired, actively steered needle, which has been integrated within a clinical interface and designed for seamless integration into the neurosurgical workflow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Biomimetic Alginate/Gelatin/Elastin Sponges with Recognition Properties toward Bioactive Peptides for Cardiac Tissue Engineering
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040067 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 572
Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest toward the covalent binding of bioactive peptides from extracellular matrix proteins on scaffolds as a promising functionalization strategy in the development of biomimetic matrices for tissue engineering. A totally new approach for scaffold functionalization [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest toward the covalent binding of bioactive peptides from extracellular matrix proteins on scaffolds as a promising functionalization strategy in the development of biomimetic matrices for tissue engineering. A totally new approach for scaffold functionalization with peptides is based on Molecular Imprinting technology. In this work, imprinted particles with recognition properties toward laminin and fibronectin bioactive moieties were synthetized and used for the functionalization of biomimetic sponges, which were based on a blend of alginate, gelatin, and elastin. Functionalized sponges underwent a complete morphological, physicochemical, mechanical, functional, and biological characterization. Micrographs of functionalized sponges showed a highly porous structure and a quite homogeneous distribution of imprinted particles on their surface. Infrared and thermal analyses pointed out the presence of interactions between blend components. Biodegradation and mechanical properties appeared adequate for the aimed application. The results of recognition tests showed that the deposition on sponges did not alter the specific recognition and binding behavior of imprinted particles. In vitro biological characterization with cardiac progenitor cells showed that early cell adherence was promoted. In vivo analysis showed that developed scaffolds improved cardiac progenitor cell adhesion and differentiation toward myocardial phenotypes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multifunctional Adhesives on the Eggs of the Leaf Insect Phyllium philippinicum (Phasmatodea: Phylliidae): Solvent Influence and Biomimetic Implications
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040066 - 27 Nov 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Leaf insects (Phylliidae) are well-camouflaged terrestrial herbivores. They imitate leaves of plants almost perfectly and even their eggs resemble seeds—visually and regarding to dispersal mechanisms. The eggs of the leaf insect Phyllium philippinicum utilize an adhesive system with a combination of glue, which [...] Read more.
Leaf insects (Phylliidae) are well-camouflaged terrestrial herbivores. They imitate leaves of plants almost perfectly and even their eggs resemble seeds—visually and regarding to dispersal mechanisms. The eggs of the leaf insect Phyllium philippinicum utilize an adhesive system with a combination of glue, which can be reversibly activated through water contact and a water-responding framework of reinforcing fibers that facilitates their adjustment to substrate asperities and real contact area enhancement. So far, the chemical composition of this glue remains unknown. To evaluate functional aspects of the glue–solvent interaction, we tested the effects of a broad array of chemical solvents on the glue activation and measured corresponding adhesive forces. Based on these experiments, our results let us assume a proteinaceous nature of the glue with different functional chemical subunits, which enable bonding of the glue to both the surface of the egg and the unpredictable substrate. Some chemicals inhibited adhesion, but the deactivation was always reversible by water-contact and in some cases yielded even higher adhesive forces. The combination of glue and fibers also enables retaining the adhesive on the egg, even if detached from the egg’s surface. The gained insights into this versatile bioadhesive system could hereafter inspire further biomimetic adhesives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Whitening Effects of a Novel Oral Care Gel with Biomimetic Hydroxyapatite: A 4-Week Observational Pilot Study
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040065 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 699
Abstract
The whitening effects of an oral care gel based on particulate microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, Ca5(PO4)3(OH), were tested in a 4-week observational pilot study. Patients were recruited from two dental practices in Germany. Participants were asked to complete a [...] Read more.
The whitening effects of an oral care gel based on particulate microcrystalline hydroxyapatite, Ca5(PO4)3(OH), were tested in a 4-week observational pilot study. Patients were recruited from two dental practices in Germany. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their personal perception of their tooth color and brightness as well as the level of dentin hypersensitivity at the baseline and after 4 weeks of twice daily use of an oral care gel with hydroxyapatite. Data of 25 patients with a mean age of 46 ± 16 years were analyzed. Various subjective whitening parameters showed a tendency to be improved after the 4-week use. Additionally, patients reported that symptoms of dentin hypersensitivity were significantly reduced (p < 0.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): (0.8; 2.4)), and the tooth surface was significantly smoother (p < 0.05, 95% CI: (0.54; 1.6)). In conclusion, microcrystalline hydroxyapatite is a promising whitening agent for oral care formulations and represents a biomimetic alternative to other whitening agents for daily dental care. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Field Testing of Biohybrid Robotic Jellyfish to Demonstrate Enhanced Swimming Speeds
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040064 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Biohybrid robotic designs incorporating live animals and self-contained microelectronic systems can leverage the animals’ own metabolism to reduce power constraints and act as natural chassis and actuators with damage tolerance. Previous work established that biohybrid robotic jellyfish can exhibit enhanced speeds up to [...] Read more.
Biohybrid robotic designs incorporating live animals and self-contained microelectronic systems can leverage the animals’ own metabolism to reduce power constraints and act as natural chassis and actuators with damage tolerance. Previous work established that biohybrid robotic jellyfish can exhibit enhanced speeds up to 2.8 times their baseline behavior in laboratory environments. However, it remains unknown if the results could be applied in natural, dynamic ocean environments and what factors can contribute to large animal variability. Deploying this system in the coastal waters of Massachusetts, we validate and extend prior laboratory work by demonstrating increases in jellyfish swimming speeds up to 2.3 times greater than their baseline, with absolute swimming speeds up to 6.6 ± 0.3 cm s−1. These experimental swimming speeds are predicted using a hydrodynamic model with morphological and time-dependent input parameters obtained from field experiment videos. The theoretical model can provide a basis to choose specific jellyfish with desirable traits to maximize enhancements from robotic manipulation. With future work to increase maneuverability and incorporate sensors, biohybrid robotic jellyfish can potentially be used to track environmental changes in applications for ocean monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization by Central Composite Experimental Design of the Synthesis of Physically Crosslinked Chitosan Spheres
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040063 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 657
Abstract
Chitosan (CS) has special properties such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, antibacterial, and biological activity which make this material is currently studied in various applications, including tissue engineering. There are different methods to modify the morphology of CS. Most use chemical crosslinking agents, however, those [...] Read more.
Chitosan (CS) has special properties such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, antibacterial, and biological activity which make this material is currently studied in various applications, including tissue engineering. There are different methods to modify the morphology of CS. Most use chemical crosslinking agents, however, those methods have disadvantages such as low polymer degradability and unwanted side effects. The objective of this research was to obtain CS spheres through the physical crosslinking of commercial CS without using crosslinking agents through a simple coacervation method. A central composite experimental design was used to optimize the synthesis of the CS spheres and by the response surface methodology it was possible to obtain CS spheres with the smallest diameter and the most regular morphology. With the optimal formulation (CS solution 1.8% (w/v), acetic acid (AAC) solution 1% (w/v), sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution 13% (w/v), relative humidity of (10%) and needle diameter of 0.6 mm), a final sphere diameter of 1 mm was obtained. Spheres were characterized by physical, chemical, thermal, and biological properties in simulated body fluid (SBF). The results obtained allowed us to understand the effect of the studied variables on the spheres’ diameter. An optimized condition facilitated the change in the morphology of the CS while maintaining its desirable properties for use in tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chitin- and Chitosan-Based Composite Materials II)
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Open AccessCommunication
Biological Practices and Fields, Missing Pieces of the Biomimetics’ Methodological Puzzle
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040062 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
Facing current biomimetics impediments, recent studies have supported the integration within biomimetic teams of a new actor having biological knowledge and know-how. This actor is referred to as the “biomimetician” in this article. However, whereas biology is often considered a homogenous whole in [...] Read more.
Facing current biomimetics impediments, recent studies have supported the integration within biomimetic teams of a new actor having biological knowledge and know-how. This actor is referred to as the “biomimetician” in this article. However, whereas biology is often considered a homogenous whole in the methodological literature targeting biomimetics, it actually gathers fundamentally different fields. Each of these fields is structured around specific practices, tools, and reasoning. Based on this observation, we wondered which knowledge and know-how, and so biological fields, should characterize biomimeticians. Following the design research methodology, this article thus investigates the operational integration of two biological fields, namely ecology and phylogenetics, as a starting point in the establishment of the biomimetician’s biological tools and practices. After a descriptive phase identifying specific needs and potential conceptual bridges, we presented various ways of applying biological expertise during biomimetic processes in the prescriptive phase of the study. Finally, we discussed current limitations and future research axes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Weathering Performance of Poly(Lactic Acid) through Carbon Nanotubes Addition: Thermal, Microstructural, and Nanomechanical Analyses
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040061 - 17 Nov 2020
Viewed by 573
Abstract
To understand the interrelationship between the microstructure and degradation behavior of poly(lactic acid) (PLA), single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were introduced into PLA as nucleating agents. The degradation behavior of PLA-CNT nanocomposites was examined under accelerated weathering conditions with exposure to UV light, heat, [...] Read more.
To understand the interrelationship between the microstructure and degradation behavior of poly(lactic acid) (PLA), single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were introduced into PLA as nucleating agents. The degradation behavior of PLA-CNT nanocomposites was examined under accelerated weathering conditions with exposure to UV light, heat, and moisture. The degradation mechanism proceeded via the Norrish type II mechanism of carbonyl polyester. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies showed an increase in glass transition temperature, melting temperature, and crystallinity as a result of the degradation. However, pure PLA showed higher degradation as evidenced by increased crystallinity, lower onset decomposition temperature, embrittlement, and a higher number of micro-voids which became broader and deeper during degradation. In the PLA-CNT nanocomposites, CNTs created a tortuous pathway which inhibits the penetration of water molecules deeper into the polymer matrix, making PLA thermally stable by increasing the initial temperature of mass loss. CNTs appear to retard PLA degradation by impeding mass transfer. Our study will facilitate designing environmentally friendly packaging materials that display greater resistance to degradation in the presence of moisture and UV light. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
Navigating the Tower of Babel: The Epistemological Shift of Bioinspired Innovation
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040060 - 09 Nov 2020
Viewed by 957
Abstract
The disparity between disciplinary approaches to bioinspired innovation has created a cultural divide that is stifling to the overall advancement of the approach for sustainable societies. This paper aims to advance the effectiveness of bioinspired innovation processes for positive benefits through interdisciplinary communication [...] Read more.
The disparity between disciplinary approaches to bioinspired innovation has created a cultural divide that is stifling to the overall advancement of the approach for sustainable societies. This paper aims to advance the effectiveness of bioinspired innovation processes for positive benefits through interdisciplinary communication by exploring the epistemological assumptions in various fields that contribute to the discipline. We propose that there is a shift in epistemological assumptions within bioinspired innovation processes at the points where biological models derived from reductionist approaches are interpreted as socially-constructed design principles, which are then realized in practical settings wrought with complexity and multiplicity. This epistemological shift from one position to another frequently leaves practitioners with erroneous assumptions due to a naturalistic fallacy. Drawing on examples in biology, we provide three recommendations to improve the clarity of the dialogue amongst interdisciplinary teams. (1) The deliberate articulation of epistemological perspectives amongst team members. (2) The application of a gradient orientation towards sustainability instead of a dichotomous orientation. (3) Ongoing dialogue and further research to develop novel epistemological approaches towards the topic. Adopting these recommendations could further advance the effectiveness of bioinspired innovation processes to positively impact social and ecological systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bioinspired Honeycomb Core Design: An Experimental Study of the Role of Corner Radius, Coping and Interface
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040059 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1100
Abstract
The honeybee’s comb has inspired the design of engineering honeycomb core that primarily abstract the hexagonal cell shape and exploit its mass minimizing properties to construct lightweight panels. This work explored three additional design features that are part of natural honeybee comb but [...] Read more.
The honeybee’s comb has inspired the design of engineering honeycomb core that primarily abstract the hexagonal cell shape and exploit its mass minimizing properties to construct lightweight panels. This work explored three additional design features that are part of natural honeybee comb but have not been as well studied as design features of interest in honeycomb design: the radius at the corner of each cell, the coping at the top of the cell walls, and the interface between cell arrays. These features were first characterized in natural honeycomb using optical and X-ray techniques and then incorporated into honeycomb core design and fabricated using an additive manufacturing process. The honeycomb cores were then tested in out-of-plane compression and bending, and since all three design features added mass to the overall structure, all metrics of interest were examined per unit mass to assess performance gains despite these additions. The study concluded that the presence of an interface increases specific flexural modulus in bending, with no significant benefit in out-of-plane compression; coping radius positively impacts specific flexural strength, however, the corner radius has no significant effect in bending and actually is slightly detrimental for out-of-plane compression testing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Developments in Biomimetic Antifouling Materials: A Review
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040058 - 30 Oct 2020
Viewed by 988
Abstract
The term ‘biomimetic’ might be applied to any material or process that in some way reproduces, mimics, or is otherwise inspired by nature. Also variously termed bionic, bioinspired, biological design, or even green design, the idea of adapting or taking inspiration from a [...] Read more.
The term ‘biomimetic’ might be applied to any material or process that in some way reproduces, mimics, or is otherwise inspired by nature. Also variously termed bionic, bioinspired, biological design, or even green design, the idea of adapting or taking inspiration from a natural solution to solve a modern engineering problem has been of scientific interest since it was first proposed in the 1960s. Since then, the concept that natural materials and nature can provide inspiration for incredible breakthroughs and developments in terms of new technologies and entirely new approaches to solving technological problems has become widely accepted. This is very much evident in the fields of materials science, surface science, and coatings. In this review, we survey recent developments (primarily those within the last decade) in biomimetic approaches to antifouling, self-cleaning, or anti-biofilm technologies. We find that this field continues to mature, and emerging novel, biomimetic technologies are present at multiple stages in the development pipeline, with some becoming commercially available. However, we also note that the rate of commercialization of these technologies appears slow compared to the significant research output within the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Functional (Nano)materials)
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Open AccessReview
The Use of Simulated Body Fluid (SBF) for Assessing Materials Bioactivity in the Context of Tissue Engineering: Review and Challenges
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040057 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
Some special implantable materials are defined as “bioactive” if they can bond to living bone, forming a tight and chemically-stable interface. This property, which is inherent to some glass compositions, or can be induced by applying appropriate surface treatments on otherwise bio-inert metals, [...] Read more.
Some special implantable materials are defined as “bioactive” if they can bond to living bone, forming a tight and chemically-stable interface. This property, which is inherent to some glass compositions, or can be induced by applying appropriate surface treatments on otherwise bio-inert metals, can be evaluated in vitro by immersion studies in simulated body fluid (SBF), mimicking the composition of human plasma. As a result, apatite coating may form on the material surface, and the presence of this bone-like “biomimetic skin” is considered predictive of bone-bonding ability in vivo. This review article summarizes the story and evolution of in vitro bioactivity testing methods using SBF, highlighting the influence of testing parameters (e.g., formulation and circulation of the solution) and material-related parameters (e.g., composition, geometry, texture). Suggestions for future methodological refinements are also provided at the end of the paper. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exposure of Biomimetic Composite Materials to Acidic Challenges: Influence on Flexural Resistance and Elastic Modulus
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040056 - 28 Oct 2020
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Acidic conditions of the oral cavity, including soft drinks and cariogenic bacteria, represent a damage for restorative biomimetic composite materials. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of two different acidic challenges on the flexural strength and elastic modulus of [...] Read more.
Acidic conditions of the oral cavity, including soft drinks and cariogenic bacteria, represent a damage for restorative biomimetic composite materials. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of two different acidic challenges on the flexural strength and elastic modulus of five composites: x-tra fil (Group 1, XTF), GrandioSO x-tra (Group 2, GXT), Admira Fusion x-tra (Group 3, AFX), VisCalor bulk (Group 4, VCB), and Enamel Plus HRi (Group 5, EPH). Thirty samples for each group were randomly divided and assigned to three different treatments: storage in distilled water as the controls (subgroups 1a–5a), 3 weeks distilled water + 1 week Coca-Cola (subgroups 1b-5b), and 4 weeks Coca-Cola (subgroups 1c–5c). For each subgroup, the flexural strength and elastic modulus were measured using an Instron universal testing machine, and data were submitted to statistical analysis. Considering subgroups B, no material showed a significant difference in the flexural strength with the controls (p > 0.05), whereas for subgroups C, only GXT and VCB showed significantly lower values (p < 0.05). AFX reported the lowest flexural strength among the materials tested. As regards the elastic modulus, no material showed a significant variation after acidic storages when compared with the respective control (p > 0.05). AFX and EPH reported the lowest elastic modulus compared to the other materials. All composites tested showed adequate flexural properties according to the standards, except for AFX. This biomimetic material, along with EPH, might be indicated for V class (cervical) restorations considering the lowest values of elasticity reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Analysis of a Variable Inertia Spatial Robotic Tail for Dynamic Stabilization
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040055 - 25 Oct 2020
Viewed by 659
Abstract
This paper presents the design of a four degree-of-freedom (DoF) spatial tail and demonstrates the dynamic stabilization of a bipedal robotic platform through a hardware-in-loop simulation. The proposed tail design features three active revolute joints with an active prismatic joint, the latter of [...] Read more.
This paper presents the design of a four degree-of-freedom (DoF) spatial tail and demonstrates the dynamic stabilization of a bipedal robotic platform through a hardware-in-loop simulation. The proposed tail design features three active revolute joints with an active prismatic joint, the latter of which provides a variable moment of inertia. Real-time experimental results validate the derived mathematical model when compared to simulated reactive moment results, both obtained while executing a pre-determined trajectory. A 4-DoF tail prototype was constructed and the tail dynamics, in terms of reactive force and moments, were validated using a 6-axis load cell. The paper also presents a case study where a zero moment point (ZMP) placement-based trajectory planner, along with a model-based controller, was developed in order for the tail to stabilize a simulated unstable biped robot. The case study also demonstrates the capability of the motion planner and controller in reducing the system’s kinetic energy during periods of instability by maintaining ZMP within the support polygon of the host biped robot. Both experimental and simulation results show an improvement in the tail-generated reactive moments for robot stabilization through the inclusion of prismatic motion while executing complex trajectories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Individualized Ophthalmic Exoplants by Means of Reverse Engineering and 3D Printing Technologies for Treating High Myopia Complications with Macular Buckles
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040054 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Myopic macular foveoschisis maculopathy is an eye disease that is treated, in most cases, with surgical intervention, in which a macular buckle is applied to restore eye anatomy and functionality. A macular buckle is a type of exoplant that comes in various designs [...] Read more.
Myopic macular foveoschisis maculopathy is an eye disease that is treated, in most cases, with surgical intervention, in which a macular buckle is applied to restore eye anatomy and functionality. A macular buckle is a type of exoplant that comes in various designs and sizes. Often, they are difficult to apply or they do not fit properly in the eye geometry since they have a generic form. In this work, the effort to develop the most suitable tailor-made macular buckle for each individual patient for treating myopic traction maculopathy is studied. Pattern recognition techniques are applied to the patient’s Computed Tomography (CT) data to develop the exact 3D geometry of the eye. Using this 3D geometry, the trajectory of the buckle is fitted and the buckle is formed, which is then 3D-printed with biocompatible polymer materials. It is expected that the power of technology will be used to activate the most precise approach for each individual patient. Considering the possible complications and technical difficulties of other surgical methods, the customized macular buckle is an appropriate, easy-to-use, and most precise piece of medical equipment for the treatment of myopic traction maculopathy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Learning from Nature: Bioinspired Chlorin-Based Photosensitizers Immobilized on Carbon Materials for Combined Photodynamic and Photothermal Therapy
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040053 - 14 Oct 2020
Viewed by 916
Abstract
Chlorophylls, which are chlorin-type photosensitizers, are known as the key building blocks of nature and are fundamental for solar energy metabolism during the photosynthesis process. In this regard, the utilization of bioinspired chlorin analogs as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy constitutes an evolutionary topic [...] Read more.
Chlorophylls, which are chlorin-type photosensitizers, are known as the key building blocks of nature and are fundamental for solar energy metabolism during the photosynthesis process. In this regard, the utilization of bioinspired chlorin analogs as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy constitutes an evolutionary topic of research. Moreover, carbon nanomaterials have been widely applied in photodynamic therapy protocols due to their optical characteristics, good biocompatibility, and tunable systematic toxicity. Herein, we review the literature related to the applications of chlorin-based photosensitizers that were functionalized onto carbon nanomaterials for photodynamic and photothermal therapies against cancer. Rather than a comprehensive review, we intended to highlight the most important and illustrative examples over the last 10 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Open AccessArticle
From a Pinecone to Design of an Active Textile
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 52; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040052 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Botanical nastic systems demonstrate non-directional structural responses to stimuli such as pressure, light, chemicals or temperature; hygronasty refers to systems that respond specifically to moisture. Many seed dispersal mechanisms such as wheat awns, legume pods, spruce and pinecones fall within this classification. The [...] Read more.
Botanical nastic systems demonstrate non-directional structural responses to stimuli such as pressure, light, chemicals or temperature; hygronasty refers to systems that respond specifically to moisture. Many seed dispersal mechanisms such as wheat awns, legume pods, spruce and pinecones fall within this classification. The variety of behaviours varies greatly from opening and closing to self-digging, but the mechanism is based on differential hygroscopic swelling between two adjacent areas of tissue. We describe the application of hygronastic principles specifically within the framework of textiles via the lens of structural hierarchy. Two novel prototypes are presented. One is designed to increase its permeability to airflow in damp conditions and reduce permeability in the dry by 25–30%, a counterintuitive property compared to conventional cotton, wool and rayon textiles that decrease their permeability to airflow as their moisture content increases. The second prototype describes the design and development of a hygroscopic shape changing fibre capable of reducing its length in damp conditions by 40% when compared with dry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics from Concept to Reality)
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Open AccessReview
Biomimetic Aspects of Oral and Dentofacial Regeneration
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040051 - 12 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Biomimetic materials for hard and soft tissues have advanced in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in dentistry. To examine these recent advances, we searched Medline (OVID) with the key terms “biomimetics”, “biomaterials”, and “biomimicry” combined with MeSH terms for “dentistry” [...] Read more.
Biomimetic materials for hard and soft tissues have advanced in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in dentistry. To examine these recent advances, we searched Medline (OVID) with the key terms “biomimetics”, “biomaterials”, and “biomimicry” combined with MeSH terms for “dentistry” and limited the date of publication between 2010–2020. Over 500 articles were obtained under clinical trials, randomized clinical trials, metanalysis, and systematic reviews developed in the past 10 years in three major areas of dentistry: restorative, orofacial surgery, and periodontics. Clinical studies and systematic reviews along with hand-searched preclinical studies as potential therapies have been included. They support the proof-of-concept that novel treatments are in the pipeline towards ground-breaking clinical therapies for orofacial bone regeneration, tooth regeneration, repair of the oral mucosa, periodontal tissue engineering, and dental implants. Biomimicry enhances the clinical outcomes and calls for an interdisciplinary approach integrating medicine, bioengineering, biotechnology, and computational sciences to advance the current research to clinics. We conclude that dentistry has come a long way apropos of regenerative medicine; still, there are vast avenues to endeavour, seeking inspiration from other facets in biomedical research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040050 - 12 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
The initial aim of the research was to develop a framework that would enable architects to look for thermoregulation methods in nature as inspiration for designing energy efficient buildings. The thermo-bio-architectural framework (ThBA) assumes designers will start with a thermal challenge in a [...] Read more.
The initial aim of the research was to develop a framework that would enable architects to look for thermoregulation methods in nature as inspiration for designing energy efficient buildings. The thermo-bio-architectural framework (ThBA) assumes designers will start with a thermal challenge in a building and then look in a systematic way for how this same issue is solved in nature. The tool is thus a contribution to architectural biomimicry in the field of building energy use. Since the ThBA was created by an architect, it was essential that the biology side of this cross-disciplinary tool was validated by experts in biology. This article describes the focus group that was conducted to assess the quality, inclusiveness, and applicability of the framework and why a focus group was selected over other possible methods such as surveys or interviews. The article first provides a brief explanation of the development of the ThBA. Given the focus here is on its validation, the qualitative data collection procedures and analysis results produced by NVivo 12 plus through thematic coding are described in detail. The results showed the ThBA was effective in bridging the two fields based on the existing thermal challenges in buildings, and was comprehensive in terms of generalising biological thermal adaptation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Architectural and Urban Design)
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Open AccessReview
Biomimetic Hybrid Systems for Tissue Engineering
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040049 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Tissue engineering approaches appear nowadays highly promising for the regeneration of injured/diseased tissues. Biomimetic scaffolds are continuously been developed to act as structural support for cell growth and proliferation as well as for the delivery of cells able to be differentiated, and also [...] Read more.
Tissue engineering approaches appear nowadays highly promising for the regeneration of injured/diseased tissues. Biomimetic scaffolds are continuously been developed to act as structural support for cell growth and proliferation as well as for the delivery of cells able to be differentiated, and also of bioactive molecules like growth factors and even signaling cues. The current research concerns materials employed to develop biological scaffolds with improved features as well as complex preparation techniques. In this work, hybrid systems based on natural polymers are discussed and the efforts focused to provide new polymers able to mimic proteins and DNA are extensively explained. Progress on the scaffold fabrication technique is mentioned, those processes based on solution and melt electrospinning or even on their combination being mainly discussed. Selection of the appropriate hybrid technology becomes vital to get optimal architecture to reasonably accomplish the final applications. Representative examples of the recent possibilities on tissue regeneration are finally given. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Oxidation of L-Ascorbic Acid in the Presence of the Copper-Binding Compound from Methanotrophic Bacteria Methylococcus capsulatus (M)
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040048 - 08 Oct 2020
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Abstract
The oxidation of ascorbic acid by air oxygen and hydrogen peroxide in the presence of the copper-binding compound (cbc) from bacteria Methylococcus capsulatus (M) was studied. The rate constant of ascorbic acid oxidation by air oxygen in the presence of the copper complex [...] Read more.
The oxidation of ascorbic acid by air oxygen and hydrogen peroxide in the presence of the copper-binding compound (cbc) from bacteria Methylococcus capsulatus (M) was studied. The rate constant of ascorbic acid oxidation by air oxygen in the presence of the copper complex with cbc from M. capsulatus (M) was shown to be 1.5 times higher than that of the noncatalytic reaction. The rate constant of ascorbic acid oxidation by hydrogen peroxide in the presence of the copper complex with cbc from M. capsulatus (M) decreased by almost one-third compared to the reaction in the absence of the copper complex with cbc. It was assumed that cbc can be involved in a multilevel system of antioxidant protection and can protect a bacterial cell from oxidation stress. Thus, the cbc is mimetic ascorbate oxidase in the oxidation of ascorbic acid by molecular oxygen. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biomimetic Self-Healing Cementitious Construction Materials for Smart Buildings
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 47; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040047 - 08 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Climate change is anticipated to have a major impact on concrete structures through increasing rates of deterioration as well the impacts of extreme weather events. The deterioration can affect directly or indirectly climate change in addition to the variation in the carbon dioxide [...] Read more.
Climate change is anticipated to have a major impact on concrete structures through increasing rates of deterioration as well the impacts of extreme weather events. The deterioration can affect directly or indirectly climate change in addition to the variation in the carbon dioxide concentration, temperature and relative humidity. The deterioration that occurs from the very beginning of the service not only reduces the lifespan of the concretes but also demands more cement to maintain the durability. Meanwhile, the repair process of damaged parts is highly labor intensive and expensive. Thus, the self-healing of such damages is essential for the environmental safety and energy cost saving. The design and production of the self-healing as well as sustainable concretes are intensely researched within the construction industries. Based on these factors, this article provides the materials and methods required for a comprehensive assessment of self-healing concretes. Past developments, recent trends, environmental impacts, sustainability, merits and demerits of several methods for the production of self-healing concrete are discussed and analyzed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design of a Carangiform Swimming Robot through a Multiphysics Simulation Environment
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics5040046 - 30 Sep 2020
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Bio-inspired solutions devised for autonomous underwater robots are currently being investigated by researchers worldwide as a way to improve propulsion. Despite efforts to harness the substantial potential payoffs of marine animal locomotion, biological system performance still has far to go. In order to [...] Read more.
Bio-inspired solutions devised for autonomous underwater robots are currently being investigated by researchers worldwide as a way to improve propulsion. Despite efforts to harness the substantial potential payoffs of marine animal locomotion, biological system performance still has far to go. In order to address this very ambitious objective, the authors of this study designed and manufactured a series of ostraciiform swimming robots over the past three years. However, the pursuit of the maximum propulsive efficiency by which to maximize robot autonomy while maintaining acceptable maneuverability ultimately drove us to improve our design and move from ostraciiform to carangiform locomotion. In order to comply with the tail motion required by the aforementioned swimmers, the authors designed a transmission system capable of converting the continuous rotation of a single motor in the travelling wave-shaped undulations of a multijoint serial mechanism. The propulsive performance of the resulting thruster (i.e., the caudal fin), which constitutes the mechanism end effector, was investigated by means of computational fluid dynamics techniques. Finally, in order to compute the resulting motion of the robot, numerical predictions were integrated into a multibody model that also accounted for the mass distribution inside the robotic swimmer and the hydrodynamic forces resulting from the relative motion between its body and the surrounding fluid. Dynamic analysis allowed the performance of the robotic propulsion to be computed while in the cruising condition. Full article
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