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DIRECTORATE OF ADVANCED SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY
WRIGHT AIR DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
5,000 - March 1961 – 23-899
WADD TR 60-600
QH 301 13623
The Bionics Symposium, held in Dayton, Ohio, on 13, 14, and 15 September 1960, was sponsored by the Directorate of Advanced Systems Technology, Wright Air Development Division. Mr. John E. Keto, Chief Scientist, WADD, conceived and instigated the symposium, and Col. H. L. Wallace, Jr., Director, DAST, served as Symposium Chairman. Maj. Jack E. Steele, USAF, MC, Aerospace Medical Division, was the Deputy Chairman of the symposium. Major Steele and Lt. Col. L. M. Butsch, Avionics Division, served, respectively, as Chairman and Co-chairman of the Technical Committee, which was composed of personnel of the Avionics Division and the Aerospace Medical Division, DAST.
Acknowledgement is made, on behalf of the Wright Air Development Division, to Lt. General B. A. Schriever, Commander, Air Research and Development Command, for his support of the symposium and his presentation at the symposium banquet; to Professor Heinz von Foerster, University of Illinois, for writing the Preface to this report; to the speakers for their response, their excellent presentations, and their contributions to this report on bionics. We wish to thank the members of the Technical and Arrangements Committees, listed below, for their efforts toward presenting and publishing the Bionics Symposium.
Major J. E. Steele, Chairman
Mr. A.J. Cannon, Co-Chairman
Major William Gannon
Mrs. Joan C. Robinette
WADD TR 60-600
This report compiles the papers presented at the Bionics symposium sponsered by Wright Air Development Division in September 1960. The introductory session discusses the background from which bionics arose, the military and general need, attitudes toward intelligent machines (a major product of bionics) and a survey of current research on living prototypes. The four technical sessions deal with current work in stages successively closer to practical devices. This begins with logic derived from the contemplation of neurones but applicable to the design of electronic networks of increased capacity and reliability. It continues with discussion of theories, devices, and techniques based on or simulating visual and auditory perceptual processes. The final technical session contains five papers on the mechanization of higher functions, such as learning, self-programming, pattern recognition, decision making, and heuristic programs. The report concludes with discussions of the potential value of bionics, its present status, procedural methods and difficulties, and possible social consequences.