We humans think we're sooo smart! But, in many cases, nature came up with something first. And we just copied nature's designs. That's called biomimicry.
Here are more great ideas from nature that are leading to new inventions:
Mosquito proboscis. When a mosquito bites, you often don't feel it happening. Tiny saw-like teeth along the mosquito's proboscis help it poke into you without causing pain. Wouldn't it be nice if shots at the doctor's office were less painful? That's exactly the idea behind new medical needles that have the same saw-like teeth.
Leaves of the lotus plant. Lotus leaves never look dirty. That's because they have tiny, waxy bumps on them. When rain falls on the leaves, the water forms droplets that roll right off, carrying any specks of dirt with them. People have used this idea to invent a special paint called Lotusan®. When used to paint the outside of buildings, they always stay clean.
Kingfisher bill. A kingfisher is a fishing bird that dives bill-first after its prey. It travels smoothly from air into water, making hardly any splash. The pointed "nose" of Japan's bullet train is modeled after a kingfisher's bill. It helps the super-fast train move smoothly and quietly at a speed of 200 miles per hour.