Interdisciplinary research in biotechnology and related scientific areas has increased tremendously over the past decade. This rapid pace, in conjunction with advances in microfabricated systems, computer hardware, bioengineering and the availability of low-powered miniature components, has now made it feasible to design bio-inspired materials, sensors and systems with tremendous potential for defence and security applications. To realize the full potential of biotechnology and bio-inspiration, there is a need to define specific requirements to meet the challenges of the changing world and its threats. One approach to assisting the defence and security communities in defining their requirements is through the use of a conceptual model. The distributed or intelligent autonomous sensing (DIAS) system is one such model. The DIAS model is not necessarily aimed at a single component, for instance a sensor, but can include a system, or even a system of systems in the same way that a single organism, a multi-cellular organism or group of organisms is configured. This paper provides an overview of the challenges to and opportunities for bio-inspired sensors and systems together with examples of how they are being implemented. Examples focus on both learning new things from biological organisms that have application to the defence and security forces and adapting known discoveries in biology and biochemistry for practical use by these communities.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Detection for Security