WIT Press

How to use the ovipositor drilling mechanism of hymenoptera for developing a surgical instrument in biomimetic design


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 9 (2014), Issue 3



Page Range

177 - 189




Hymenopterous insects are able to drill several inches into fresh wood with an egg-laying organ (ovipositor) as thin as a hair, to deposit their eggs. Up to now only one method of boring, i.e. rotary drilling, is technically used. The transfer of biomimetic principle to the field of orthopedic surgery was done in the bionic development process. The analysis of  the anatomy and physiology of hymenoptera led to the realization that it is of utmost importance to have the drill composed of three parts to enable a balanced drilling process without transfer of torque to the work piece. This principle was then implemented in a prototypical functional and design model of a drill rasp for creating cavities in the thigh bones for the form-fitted insertion of cementless hip prosthesis stems. The challenge was to design a drilling device for application in an operating theater. Thus, the emphasis was on an ergonomic user experience, hygiene before and during the process, the specific anatomy of the thigh bone, and an optimal workflow during the operation. A patent application was filed for the technical implemen- tation and received the brand name Sirex™ in accordance with a wood wasp genus.


bionic design, boring mechanism, hip prosthesis, reciprocating drilling, surgical instrument