For Electronic Designers of the future, the phenomena behind the pigeon that homes, the bat that navigates by echolation, and the frog that jumps according to light patterns will be as important as Maxwell's equations. These and other processes of Nature are already being applied to new electronic components and computers by specialists in bionics—the name for this new discipline. In this issue's Special Report, for the first time, is information on such concepts as the neuristor, property filters and the redundant quad.
Establishing communications between bionics experts is a big problem. Establishing a sound foundation—an organized body of information for developing experts—is an even bigger problem. Major Jack E. Steele of the Bio-Medical Laboratory at Wright AFB, appraised the situation this way: "Biologists know a great many answers but very few questions—particularly questions of interest to Electronic Designers.
"Together they have to find how animals solve problems in better ways than humans, and only then can a way be found to adapt the animals' solution." Progress in the field of bionics may very well change the character of electronics. It cannot be ignored.—James A. Lippke (Electronic Design, Sept. 14, 1960, p. 67)
Forty years later, bionics is still mostly in the experimental stage, but there's little doubt that it will eventually fulfill its promises.