Neural Coordination

Conceptually, many of today's micro-devices are not much more than miniaturized versions of our larger devices. We need devices that, like insects, operate in size ranges extending from simple diatomic molecules up to biological molecules having 106 to 109 atoms. Larger biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids usually fold up into complex tertiary structures to occupy three dimensions. Many biological molecules may transform themselves in time as well, so even at this elementary structural level, biology has the edge over silicon. Still let's not forget: much coordinated behavior and motion as well as vision and sensing, decision making, memory and learning in bees results from neurons transmitting electrical information over neural networks within milliseconds. Transmission of neural coordinating information is complex. Unequal separations of ions: sodium, potassium and chloride, across cell membranes create membrane potentials, and changes in permeability propagate over distances using a unique spike or action-potential mechanism as well as slowly varying membrane potentials. Nonetheless like devices, insects employ inorganic components for control and coordination.

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