The IST Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme has launched a public consultation on whether to open a proactive initiative on bionics. Proactive initiatives are targeted and integrated research programmes aimed at focusing resources on a few key goals selected for their potential long-term industrial and societal impact and timeliness. The planned initiative would address the possibilities inherent in developing integrated systems that extend the capabilities of the human body, or provide it with new functionalities. These systems would make it possible to restore an impaired sensory or motor function such as hearing, seeing, touching, communicating, gripping or walking. They could also make it possible to augment or extend human capabilities in vision, hearing, memory, movement, object manipulation, or human-to-human communication capabilities, for instance for working remotely or in a dangerous surrounding. The envisaged systems should be portable or implantable, communicating with their owner through 'direct' interfaces and not necessarily using one of the five senses. Future applications could include health monitoring and maintenance systems, and systems that provide their owner with an early warning of pathological situations. Work would consist of a balance of experimental and theoretical research and is expected to combine work in: sensors, bio-mechatronics (microsystems, microrobotics and microelectronics); cellular and tissue engineering; signal processing; artificial intelligence; computational neuroscience; cognitive science; rehabilitation engineering; and other areas for hybrid technologies. FET wish to consult with the scientific community on defining specific long term objectives and research challenges based on this abstract description. They are therefore inviting suggestions for 'visionary bionic system concepts and research challenges' at the level of a small research programme (10 to 20 million euro). This is not the stage to submit individual project ideas. Rough ideas will be collected until July 2000, when some proposers will be asked to submit detailed final texts by mid-October 2000. A call would then be issued in 2001 or early 2002.