The US Army Research Laboratory has assembled a Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) for the development of
Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST). It is envisioned that an ensemble of microsystems with
autonomous behavior will improve situational awareness for a wide range of small unit operations, especially in urban
environments. Due to the breadth of missions and scale of the systems, the MAST program has a profound need to
pursue microsystem designs that simultaneously optimize multifunctionality, robustness, adaptability as well as
affordability. Our inspiration comes from animal physiology, which contains many examples of components that
support multiple functions and capabilities in a highly integrated, efficient fashion. Here we outline our approach for
designing both individual microsystems and a system of microsystems based on inspiration from biology.