Nature has been largely ignored—if not outright defied—through most of the industrial age. Since Henry Ford fired up his assembly line 100 years ago, we have been getting by on our own wits and inventions, creating new system and new designs to create the products that keep our progress going.
But lately, a few savvy manufacturers are beginning look back at nature's laboratory to find solutions to some of our toughest design problems.
This process, called biomimicry, seeks to harness the capabilities found the structures that have evolved in the plants and animals around us to make better, stronger and more sustainable products for the future.
The principle is simple: everything that exists today in nature is the result of billions of years of evolution. It has been optimized by survival, tested against the elements and has proven itself to be the optimal design. It is all one giant R&D lab 3.8 billion years in the making.
Tapping into those resources opens up a rich new world of inspiration for designers and manufacturers.
This slideshow highlights a few of the biggest and best biomimicry projects manufacturers and tackling today.
For the full story on biomimicry, see: Biomimicry: What Would Nature Do?