Bionics, the study of the functions of living organisms for the purpose of building mechanical or electronic devices to copy or imitate these functions. Much of the work done in bionics has been experimental, but bionics has led to a number of practical medical and industrial devices. Medical devices developed through bionics include kidney-dialysis machines and computer-controlled artificial limbs. (See Artificial Limb; Kidney, subtitle Kidney Disorders: Kidney Failure.) Industrial devices developed through bionics include robots used to perform repetitive tasks, such as assembling automobile parts. (See Robot.) Much research in bionics concerns the development of computers that can perform functions ordinarily associated with human intelligence. (See Artificial Intelligence.)

Research in bionics requires an understanding of biology, mathematics, and mechanical and electronic engineering.