The Role of Insects in Medical Engineering and Bionics: Towards Entomomedical Engineering

Jette Bloemberg, Cesare Stefanini, Donato Romano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Insects are important agents in ecosystems. Their diverseness and developed coping mechanisms also make them interesting for direct application and as a source of inspiration in medical engineering. We summarized the main contribution of insects in biomedical applications. Medical centers in North America, and Europe use fly larvae for maggot therapy to remove necrotic tissue, decrease infection risk, and improve wound healing. Ant mandibles are used as a suturing technique by African tribes and as sources of inspiration for surgical clamps. Both the mosquito fascicle and the wasp ovipositor are sources of inspiration for the design of medical needles. Herein, a new research field called 'entomomedical engineering,' is proposed. We define entomomedical engineering as the branch of engineering that uses insects either directly or as a source of inspiration to design and develop medical treatments or instruments. In addition, we want to emphasize the importance of preserving insects because of their function in the ecosystem, medicine, and medical engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-918
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Biologically-inspired design
  • insect
  • maggot therapy
  • medical clamp
  • medical needle


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