This work examines the porting of smart structures into design and construction of next generation instrumentation for Astronomy. An optical spherical mirror with actively deformable curvature has been selected as representative benchmark for technological and numerical investigation. The proper smart actuator to be adopted, their embedding technology and the optical quality replica process needed to its manufacturing are treated in this work including numerical tools for the performance evaluation. Several technologies can be considered to design smart structures, here piezo-composites and SMA based actuators are evaluated. Numerical and experimental techniques purposely developed to integrate piezocomposites into smart structures are presented to exploit their increased flexibility respect to monolithic PZT. Moreover the technology developed for the embedding of SMA actuators in smart structures including the interface analysis with the host material is described. Some possible performance modelling approaches and control systems of the actuators are addressed taking into account trade-o? between detailed analysis and overall performance prediction as a function of the CPU time.