The aim of developing bio-inspired sensing systems is to try and emulate the amazing sensitivity and specificity observed in the natural world. These capabilities have evolved, often for specific tasks, which provide the organism with an advantage in its fight to survive and prosper. Capabilities cover a wide range of sensing functions including vision, temperature, hearing, touch, taste and smell. For some functions, the capabilities of natural systems are still greater than that achieved by traditional engineering solutions; a good example being a dog's sense of smell. Furthermore, attempting to emulate aspects of biological optics, processing and guidance may lead to more simple and effective devices. A bio-inspired sensing system is much more than the sensory mechanism. A system will need to collect samples, especially if pathogens or chemicals are of interest. Other functions could include the provision of power, surfaces and receptors, structure, locomotion and control. In fact it is possible to conceive of a complete bio-inspired system concept which is likely to be radically different from more conventional approaches. This concept will be described and individual component technologies considered.