Abstract: HIS article presents an overview and assessment of the technology leading to the development of intelligent structures. Intelligent structures are those which incorporate actuators and sensors that are highly integrated into the structure and have structural functionality, as well as highly integrated control logic, signal conditioning, and power amplification electronics. Such actuating, sensing, and signal processing elements are incorporated into a structure for the purpose of influencing its states or characteristics, be they mechanical, thermal, optical, chemical, electrical, or magnetic. For example, a mechanically intelligent structure is capable of altering both its mechanical states (its position or velocity) or its mechanical characteristics (its stiffness or damping). An optically intelligent structure could, for example, change color to match its background.17 Definition of Intelligent Structures Intelligent structures are a subset of a much larger field of research, as shown in Fig. I.123 Those structures which have actuators distributed throughout are defined as adaptive or, alternatively, actuated. Classical examples of such mechanically adaptive structures are conventional aircraft wings with articulated leading- and trailing-edge control surfaces and robotic systems with articulated manipulators and end effectors. More advanced examples currently in research include highly articulated adaptive space cranes. Structures which have sensors distributed throughout are a subset referred to as sensory. These structures have sensors which might detect displacements, strains or other mechanical states or properties, electromagnetic states or properties, temperature or heat flow, or the presence or accumulation of damage. Applications of this technology might include damage detection in long life structures, or embedded or conformal RF antennas within a structure. The overlap structures which contain both actuators and sensors (implicitly linked by closed-loop control) are referred to as controlled structures. Any structure whose properties or states can be influenced by the presence of a closed-loop control system is included in this category. A subset of controlled structures are active structures, distinguished from controlled structures by highly distributed actuators which have structural functionality and are part of the load bearing system.