Biomaterial systems for mechanosensing and actuation

Nature. 2009 Nov 26;462(7272):442-8. doi: 10.1038/nature08603.


Living organisms use composite materials for various functions, such as mechanical support, protection, motility and the sensing of signals. Although the individual components of these materials may have poor mechanical qualities, they form composites of polymers and minerals with a remarkable variety of functional properties. Researchers are now using these natural systems as models for artificial mechanosensors and actuators, through studying both natural structures and their interactions with the environment. In addition to inspiring the design of new materials, analysis of natural structures on this basis can provide insight into evolutionary constraints on structure-function relationships in living organisms and the variety of structural solutions that emerged from these constraints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / metabolism*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Spiders / anatomy & histology
  • Spiders / physiology*


  • Biocompatible Materials