Nature has it all figured out. It's smart, efficient and innovative. That's why scientists and engineers all over the world try to copy it in their labs. The field of research concerned with imitating nature is called biomimetics.
"Biomimicry is the conscious emulation of nature's wisdom," says Tim McGee, a senior biologist with the Biomimicry Institute, a nonprofit that brings together scientists, engineers, and architects to create sustainable technologies. "It's looking to nature to understand the patterns of how it works, why it works."
McGee makes a subtle distinction between biomimicry and bioinspired design. Biomimicry, he says, usually works toward sustainability whereas bioinspired design doesn't necessarily. The expansive field of biomimicry includes designing AC-free buildings based on termite mounds and improving transportation systems using slime molds.
For McGee, these 10 examples show how far biomimicry can go.