A case study in bio-inspired engineering design: Defense applications of exoskeletal sensors

Mark Ginsberg, Jeff Schiano, Megan Kramer, Marianne Alleyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of a bio-inspired design process, the authors examine exoskeletal sensors found in insects and their potential application to armor and hardened buildings. In this way, the outer hardening of a structure or vehicle would not limit the ability of occupants to arrive at an actionable picture of the outer environment. To this end, various sensor modalities employed by insects are compared and contrasted with their current human-engineered equivalents. In several sensing modalities, biosensors perform better, are smaller, and more energy efficient than human-engineered equivalents. They note that biological designs tend to employ non-linear response to signal amplitude and respond with heightened sensitivity over a greater dynamic range of signals than human-engineered sensors. The insect biological sensors have structural and mechanical innovations that preserve the protective capacity of the exoskeleton.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-169
Number of pages14
JournalDefense and Security Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • bio-inspired
  • building sensor
  • exoskeletal sensors
  • insect sensors
  • non-linear feedback
  • physical security
  • sensitivity enhancement
  • sensor design
  • sensor enhanced armor
  • sensor sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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