This paper addresses examples of sensing and active mechanisms inherent in some biological species where both plants and animals cases are discussed: mechanosensors and actuators in Venus Fly Trap and cucumber tendrils, chemosensors in insects, two cases of interactions between different kingdoms, (i) cotton plant smart defense system and (ii) bird-of-paradise flower and hamming bird interaction. All these cases lead us to recognize how energy-efficient and flexible the biological sensors and actuators are. This review reveals the importance of integration of sensing and actuation functions into an autonomous system if we make biomimetic design of a set of new autonomous systems which can sense and actuate under a number of different stimuli and threats.
While some researchers see developments on the nanotechnology scale as the major or exclusive biomimetic trend in
the 21st century, others insist that the exploration of the biomimetic potentialities of macroscopic systems has hardly
been started. On either scale exploration of biological systems and development of engineering materials proceed in
parallel and this provides the opportunity to actively search for similar, convergent solutions and designs in both
directions. Recent studies of plant motors ranging from rapid calcium-dependent shape changes in plant proteins
(forisomes) to the rapid closure of Venus flytraps and the ultra- rapid opening of dogwood flowers attracted the attention
of both biologists and engineers. Here we summarize the principal differences of the nanomotors and macromotors that
drive plant and animal movements. Then we describe three types of hydration motors that are common in plants:
osmotic, colloid, and fibrous. In engineering electroactive polymers (EAPs) have emerged as new actuation materials
with large, electrically induced strain and bending capacity. It remains to be seen whether hydrated EAPs with low
voltage-actuation have bioconvergent relevance and proximity to biological situations; in particular plant movements.
So far we only know that (i) pH-sensitive poly-ionic polymers like pectins are a common occurrence in the primary
walls and occasionally some vacuoles of plant cells, (ii), that strong electric field changes also occur in living tissues,
and (iii) that some aspects of their action are not understood and remain a matter of further investigation.