From locomotion to dexterity, the creatures sharing our ecosystems have been optimized to expend the least amount of energy while providing the most economical use of power. The diminutive harlequin mantis shrimp can throw a punch with the force of 700 N, accelerating as fast as a low-caliber bullet.
Scientists theorize that crustacean's exoskeleton keeps from breaking due to an elastic layer underneath allowing localized small cracks. They hope to crack the code on this architecture to fabricate super-durable material for armor, automobiles, and any other surface you don't want to break.
This is just one example of the rapidly-expanding field of biomimicry, which is basically scavenging Mother Nature's best ideas like a vulture picking bones cleans and calling it innovation. Not that there's nothing wrong with this. Hermit crabs have been stealing architectural designs for nearly 100 million years. And it's not like Mother Nature has a patent lawyer on retainer.
In some cases, the bio-based tools at our disposal have been product tested for hundreds of millions of years—often with the user's life at stake. If a tool at your job fails, you might lose production time, and at worst your job. In the wild, you will literally get eaten alive.
That's why more and more companies are hiring their own biologists to aid in product development, and the end results are amazing ideas you have to see to believe. Click the gallery to check out the best we found: