Monday, August 24, 2015

BIONICS: “A lot Like Life”

BION-IC (Life-Like) literally means imitating the nature.

Science and Engineering have been the two most fascinating fields known to the humankind since ages and when these two fields come together, they create Bionics.  

“Bionics” is technically defined as the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the designing and engineering of systems and modern technology. It is basically the flow of concepts from Biology to engineering. Imagine conceptualizing an Information System for a hospital based on the mechanism seen in the nervous system of a butterfly. Seems impossible? Well, with the Bionics the impossible becomes possible.

Bionics also includes inventing new innovative structures which can mimic the damaged natural body organs or parts. By using a similar technology, we can increase the chances of acceptance by human body. The development in the field has reached to a level where they can incorporate electronics and pneumatic mechanisms of considerable complexity into the Modern prosthetic limbs often giving the feel of a real limb. Imagine how easy it would be for a person with no legs to accept an artificial limb that looks and functions like an original one.

Few examples of body parts and the biomaterials and biomedical devices that can be used to replace damaged or diseased body parts are as follows:  

1.    Artificial Joints: Artificial hip joints are made from materials like stainless steel-polyethylene or cobalt-chromium alloy-polyethylene combination.

2.    Pacemakers:  A pacemaker is a battery-operated device intended to stimulate contraction of the heart at a certain rate. 

3.    Crowns and Dentures: Recent developments have led to innovations of metal-ceramic crowns and have led to an increase in strength of these structures. Dentures (false teeth) are generally made from acrylic for ease of fabrication.

4.    Cochlear Implants: It is an artificial device that can replace a damaged ear and help in hearing. It is designed to stimulate nerves inside the inner ear, thus producing a hearing sensation. The technology involves converting sound into electrical impulses, which can be used to stimulate the auditory nerves, sending a signal to the brain, which finally creates a hearing sensation.

5.    The iron lung: Artificial lungs are not a new development. The history can be traced to 1940s where the “iron lung” was used in treating polio.

Bionics can prove to be a life changing technology for a lot of people and with more and more development happening in the field with each passing day, the field can prove to be of a real help to the healthcare industry. 

-Ms. Ginny Kaushal,

 Faculty, INLEAD

Images Courtesy- Google Images

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