Adaptivity is another interesting mission of bionics. Professor Arnim von Gleich, Head of the Department of Technological Design and Development at the University of Bremen, abstracts "Survival of the fittest", a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory: "Current tech solutions are typically geared towards very defined boundary conditions. If the boundary conditions change, the technical solutions fail." 1
A second example of bionics shows that products can be applied in many fields. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) wanted to solve the following problem: modern artificial hip implants require the surgeon to drill a triangular pattern in the patient's bone – an elaborate and difficult procedure. If you take a closer look at nature, wood wasps (horntails) use their ovipositor to rasp these types of holes into hardwoods to lay their eggs. Admittedly, this is a much easier process for wasps than it is for surgeons.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer IPA were inspired by the wood wasp and invented a unique drilling system. It can move cyclically in a pendulum stroke movement and can drill round holes and holes in the shape of a triangle, or any regular polygon. Here is the wasp’s process: its ovipositor consists of three independently movable parts, called valves. One of these valves attaches to the material, while the other two rasp away the material.
The bionic Sirex drill won multiple awards in 2017. Even though the drill was invented with surgery in mind to facilitate multidimensional optimization, it can also be used for construction or manual labor purposes. The drill might also assist work in space – a conventional drill needs contact pressure, which does not exist in zero gravity. In this case, the third valve of the innovative drill simply attaches to the material to enable drilling in space.