Networks of biomolecular unit cells are proposed as a new type of biologically inspired intelligent materials. These materials are derived from natural cellular mechanics and aim to improve current biologically-inspired technologies by recreating the desired systems from the basic building block of the natural world; the cell. The individual biomolecular unit cell is able to replicate natural cellular abilities through a combination of lipid bilayer membranes containing embedded proteins and peptides. While individual unit cells offer an ideal testing environment for demonstrating proofs of concept, more advanced abilities require larger networks, utilizing cell-to-cell interactions.
The cell-to-cell interactions often involve multiple modes of communication, which have been identified for this paper as primarily electrical, chemical, and mechanical phenomenon. Previous modeling efforts have incorporated the electrical portion through equivalent circuit models, but these lack the ability to fully explain some of the network characteristics. A new formulation is presented here to illustrate how these three classes of phenomenon may be coupled to achieve various engineering design goals.