Biomimetics, Micro-design, Arctium minus et al Hook and Velcro – A PhD and a Virtual Textbook on Biological Attachment Mechanisms and their Mimicking

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Report Back

In case none of you know it – I have not been attached to a University for some 11 years now.


My paper 3 has hit 1074 accesses in seven months.  Total accesses – 3855 for all three papers.


Thanks and Bye!



Stats hit 3430 accesses

So the temperature is rising.  The final paper of the series has broken 900 in six months alone.


There are NOT a lot of Biomimeticists on the Planet, you understand?

Stats hit 3000!

24/9/2016 – The accesses for my three peer reviewed papers has passed 3000 in total, with my third paper on Microdesign bringing up the rear with over 750 accesses in five months.


See the Journal of Robotics and Biomimetics – Springer-Open

I am pleased.

Further – I have put a letter to a solicitor which is very important.  This is where my blog fits in – it is a record of events that is not usually used in an academic defence, but here it is!

Readership spiking at 50 accesses per day



Total has hit 2840 for all three papers of my thesis, after a rise of 200 over 4 days and further increases annotated below. I had to break into the Biomimetics World by going straight to the publishers and circumventing the University establishment.  But there is a price to pay for that no doubt.


As I am unattached to a University I rely on this readership to spread the word that there is someone out here who knows what is going on.

(4/9/16) 2675 in total.  BS.

 (5/9/2016) 2693 – slow Sunday

(6/9/2016) 2713

(7/9/2016) 2758

(8/9/2016)  2784

(9/9/2016) 2806

(10/9/2016)  2822

(11/9/2016)  2840

(23/9/2016) 2989


Spike in Readership

It seems from observation of the site stats and the Springer-Open figures for accesses, I am experiencing a spike of activity (28/8/2016).

Just to let you know this blog is active


and latest accesses are:

Paper 1 has broken 1200!  Rising to 1215!

Paper 2: 641

Paper 3: and this is the crux, 553 accesses which means theoretically I have had over 550 readers of my thesis in less than 4 months.

Paper Statistics

On this day:  27/8/2016

Paper 1 (29 July 2015)  has had

1198 accesses and 1 citation

Paper 2 (9 December 2015)  has had

634 accesses and 2 citations and

Paper 3 (5 May 2016) had had

547 accesses.

Paper 4 Introduction

The REAL Introduction.

TITLE: “The application of early evolutionary theory and design laws to the reverse engineering of a 100 micron-radius by 20 micron thick long-shafted modular-hooked Universal Foot for frictional probabilistic attachment from Natural biological attachment mechanisms using scanning electro-deposition electron microscopy and Biomimetic principles.”


This is a review article of the three papers published in the Springer-Open journal, “The Journal of Robotics and Biomimetics” in a special issue on nano-/micro-robotics under the following titles:

  1. A biomimetic study of natural attachment mechanisms— Arctium minus part 1 [1]
  2. A biomimetic study of natural attachment mechanisms: imaging cellulose and chitin part 2 [2]
  3. Micro-design using frictional, hooked, attachment mechanisms: a biomimetic study of natural attachment mechanisms—Part 3 [3]

This research/design has been entered into the current Buckminster-Fuller Competition 2016 The title of part 3 above displays the underlying theory behind the exploration of the detail of papers 1 and 2. It accepts the viability of using cladistic methods to arrive at a scenario where a structure that has survived the “evolutionary sieve” is selected, to quote Nicklaus et al [4], over the use of Linnaeus or other classification methods which can be seen as insignificantly better when it comes to evolutionary manifestations of properties and/or structures. In other words all evolutionary models are all imperfect and so it is that the solution must indeed be imperfect too if it is to reflect the true nature of the Natural World i.e. testing is necessary before any firm conclusions can be reached. The use of the hook is a not very interesting thing, relatively. But it is also the ideal way to start with the designing of micro-sized (~100micron) objects because of the over-hang of the hook which is of the minimal complexity to test the programmer [see [4]] can be assembled into machine-like components for manufacture. Their origins are a little too old for one to understand their development since the designs are based in evolutionary theory, which is utilised in order to identify which structures are viable and of suitable length and strength to be of use in the manufacture of computer components to attach to PCB’s (printed circuit boards).


This work derives from a thesis proposal: “The Functional Ecology and Mechanical Properties of Biological Hooks in Nature” which led to a dispelling of the myth that an engineer cannot do a biological subject in that the researcher was the first person to use a confocal microscope by virtue of his imaging knowledge. It led to the theory that there is a way of being able to measure the proportional forces being used in the attachment of those mechanisms that could be measured and used to manufacture a hook that would indeed be of use, but not as expected. Of course the first view was that it was unsuitable to measure with current technology as it was then and now it has become possible only through the work of Hirt et al [5], by their work on SEM (scanning electrodeposition electron microscopy). Now a hook can be manufactured at a 1:1 scale to the specimen that is to be reverse engineered and that means that designers are on the brink of being able to make things that are of use, in the micro-realm (of the order of 10-100 microns in size). It all began with the discovery that it was possible to image one of the hooked probabilistic fasteners under laser light, namely the cellulose hook of burdock (Arctium minus). Therefore the work continued with the chitinous growths of the bee and the grasshopper (Apis mellifera and Omocestus viridulus) tarsii [2]. This encounter with luck was able to make true the theory that the use of the microscope could be for the imaging of a specimen and then the transfer of data directly to a layered manufacture device that was suitable, namely the SEM work of Hirt et al [5]. The point of this imaging was to use it to describe the group of probabilistic fasteners as a number, namely one for the hook, two for the attachment mechanism of the grasshopper O. viridulus with two hooks, and three for the double set of hooks, namely A. mellifera with a separating arolium which could make it all seem like they are intended to prove the theory right and not wrong. The chance of being on top of a specimen structure available without travelling is immense, as these were all available at the University of Bath which is set in the countryside of Western England. Particularly the burdock which is used (apparently) as the basis of Velcro but it is concluded this is without fundament and it seemed better to use it than to use the others (see below), as it will be shown, for the production of a new hook, a multi-use flat structure of multiple hooks that could be used without being entirely known, as per its value and knowledge. i.e. if it is to be the one to be imitated then it needs to be studied more now so that it can be manufactured.


Referring to the Figure of the burdock “head” or seedpod, the following is asked of the reader: “Do you think that it can be reproduced effectively as per the table below, from where I have shown it to be a better hook than those of the other four, namely the Agrimonia eupatoria, Circaea lutetiana, Galium aparine, and Geum urbanum” [6]?



The aim therefore, is to develop a Universal micro-robotic frictional probablistic attachment mechanism with a performance that can be modelled graphically, using Biomimetic principles. This is called a Universal Foot after the fact that a human foot is a frictional probabilistic attachment mechanism and because its performance is to be modelled graphically for design, performance, material, quality and other parameters, its universal qualities.

384 Accesses on Paper 3

That means that unlike Ross from Friends


I have had over 350 knowledgeable readers of my PhD thesis.


Which is quite cool.

290 accesses in 20 days

That isn’t bad folks for an obscure blue-sky funded research topic.

Thanks all for your support.  It’s been great!


Bioman (Bruce E Saunders)

Paper 3 Corrected and re-submitted

Yes, it is now out of my hands until publication which could be any day now.


The tension mounts.