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Bio-inspired Materials and Sensing Systems by Peter D.E. Biggins, Anne Kusterbeck, John A. Hiltz


Bio-inspired Materials and Sensing Systems by Peter D.E. Biggins, Anne Kusterbeck, John A. Hiltz

Can scientists and engineers replicate Nature and develop systems that operate in extreme environments? Bio-inspiration is an established concept which is developing to meet the needs of the many challenges we face particularly in defence and security. This book explores the potential of bio-inspired materials and sensing systems together with examples of how they are being implemented. It is not an exhaustive study of the subject but provides an overview of how bio-inspired or -derived approaches can be used to enhance components, systems and systems of systems for defence and security applications. Readers will gain an awareness of the complexity and versatility of bio-inspired components as well as an understanding of how these technologies can be applied in a variety of operational scenarios. Consideration is given to using a conceptual model that can be deployed in distributed or autonomous operations. Using this model, bio-inspiration with behavioural science plays a major role in identification, movement, searching strategies and pattern recognition for chemical and biological detection. Examples focus on both learning new things from nature that have application to the defence and security areas and adapting known discoveries for practical use by these communities. This graduate level monograph provides an increased awareness of the need for more sophisticated, networked sensors and systems in the defence and security communities and will be of interest to both specialists in this area and science and technology generalists.

About the Author

Peter Biggins is currently the Head of International Research Strategy at Dstl, Porton Down. Prior to that, he was the Technical Manager for detection covering all aspects of research on biological and chemical detection including modelling, data fusion, test and evaluation. He was responsible for developing and delivering the UK biological detection capability which is now in service with UK forces. He has led teams working on a wide range of operational analysis issues and also led a research group on the application of knowledge based systems (KBS). His work on KBS led to the development of the BRACIS warning and reporting system which is currently in use with the UK forces. Before joining the UK MoD, he worked for BCIRA on providing technical solutions in reducing air pollution arising from the processes used in the Iron and Steel industry both within the workplace and the external environment. Anne Kusterbeck has been a Research Biologist at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) since 1984 and is currently Deputy Director of the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering. Her research has been primarily in the area of biosensors for on-site detection of environmental contaminants, including explosives and has involved basic studies of antibody/antigen interactions, synthesis of novel receptors, development of prototype devices and technology transfer. Her current work is focused on developing underwater biosensors for chemical detection that can be used on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). She has published more than 80 journal articles and technical publications and has received numerous awards in recognition of her biosensor work, including a Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense International Award, the Sigma Xi Award in Applied Science, an NRL 75th Anniversary Innovation Award, an NRL Edison Award, and a Technology Transfer Award from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. John Hiltz is currently a senior scientist in the Dockyard Laboratory Section of Defence R&D Canada Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His current interests are in damage control technologies, including advanced fire and damage sensors for naval vessels and how these will impact crewing levels required for damage control. This work involves consideration of human factors, engineering, human systems integration and the use of modelling and simulation to evaluate the impact of technology on crewing levels. He is also actively involved in research directed at the development of novel polymeric materials for defence applications including polymeric materials with enhanced fire and damage tolerance, electroactive polymers, and the multifunctional polymeric materials. He has conducted research directed at understanding fire performance, environmental resistance, failure and structure property relationships of polymeric materials.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th February 2011


Peter D.E. Biggins, Anne Kusterbeck, John A. Hiltz

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Author 'Like for Like'


Royal Society of Chemistry


151 pages


Materials science



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