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Nature is smart, efficient and innovative. | Don Farrall/Getty Images
Tech

10 Materials that Emulate Nature: Photos

Scientists emulate nature's wisdom to create innovations in the lab.

February 1, 2011
3:33 PM EST
The sea cucumber's skin goes from soft-spongy to hard, depending on the conditions. | William A. Bolton/Corbis
Fungi make for durable and compostable packaging. | David Wrobel/Corbis
Benign viruses self-assemble into batteries. | William A. Bolton/Getty Images
The way earthworms and beetles help decompose material in forest inspired one company's wastewater treatment solution. | Ryan McVay/Getty Images
Like living cells, PVC or thermoplastic polyurethane "cells" are modular and can be build into any needed structure. | Jim Wehtje/Getty Images
A coral-reef inspired process turns carbon emissions into "green" cement. | Carlos Villoch/Corbis
Just as trees use CO2 for energy, this company uses waste CO2 to produce plastics. | Todd Korol/Corbis
Tiny trigger hairs in a Venus Flytrap inspired a snapping action in polymers that be tuned to change instantly. | Steve Hopkin/Getty Images
Mussels inspire adhesives that stick underwater. | John Parker/Getty Images
A film with a unique surface pattern inspired by shark skin stays bacteria-free. | Masa Ushioda/Corbis