Best of Biomimicry

bat wing photo
© Breuer and Swartz labs/Brown University

One of the best ways to understand biomimicry is through examples of its application, like a dew catcher that mimics spider webs or a pavilion made like a silk worm's cocoon. Here is a collection of the diverse applications biomimicry has found across industries.


Porcupine quills could help us make better medical supplies
New understanding of the molecular make-up of porcupine quills, which can penetrate flesh easily but are difficult to remove, holds the potential to improve medical equipment.

Creating the world's strongest muscles with biomimcry

Scientists from the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas are coming up with a way to use carbon nanotubes as the material for muscles modeled after natural structures.

Squid beak inspires more comfortable medical implants
A new material that is both soft and strong like a squid's beak could be used in medical implants to make patients more comfortable.

Super fly hearing powers captured in miniature microphone

A new microphone based on a fly's ear could spur the next big improvement in the acoustical performance of a hearing aid.

Transportation and Exploration

phobos hedgehog© Stanford Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Robotic hedgehogs to explore moons and asteroids
The spiky ball-like autonomous machines would be capable of rolling around and collecting data on super-low gravity moons and asteroids.

3D-printed bat wings hold new possibilities for small aircraft
As you can see from the top image of this post, researchers have used new printing technology to create bat wings. They're looking at how this creature's body can be used to inspire new possibilities for small aircraft.

Pollution Control

Biomimicry solves age-old industrial air pollution problem
This clever trick mimics how Earth's atmosphere cleans itself, resulting in a low-energy, effective solution to age-old air pollution problems.

Water management system is inspired by fish gills
The biomimetic design could increase water delivery efficiency, decrease water-borne illness, and lower wastewater operating costs.


Fireflies inspire better and cheaper LEDS
The intricate structure of the firefly's lantern inspired researchers to develop a better anti-reflective lens that makes LEDs even more efficient.

Butterfly wings inspire holographic solar panel coatings
The iridescent material is water-resistant which can improve the output of solar panels by keeping them clean and dry.


TreeHugger is a media partner in the first ever Global Biomimcry 3.8 Conference and the 7th Annual Biomimicry Education Summit this coming weekend. I'll be reporting from Boston on the upcoming developments in design that imitates nature.

Best of Biomimicry
A round-up of the different ways biomimicry is being used in the fields of energy, transportation, medicine and pollution control.