Jeremy Faludi over at WC has written what I’ve found to be a fascinating primer on biomimicry:

It’s easy to talk about how exciting biomimicry is, and how we’ll see more of it in the future, but it’s another thing to actually design and built things that are biomimetic. Most designers, engineers, architects, and other people who build things just don’t know that much about biology and the natural world; and even when they do, there’s often a gap of capability in available materials, manufacturing methods, and economic systems. Some of these obstacles are out of the designer’s hands, and you just have to move on to things that are more feasible. (But don’t forget your ideas; maybe ten years from now the technology will be there.) Even with existing technology, however, an enormous realm of possibilities is feasible, it just requires the right approach. Here is my attempt to describe the biomimetic approach, with a comprehensive list of principles. It combines lessons from Janine Benyus, Kevin Kelly, Steven Vogel, D’Arcy Thompson, Buckminster Fuller, Julian Vincent, and my own limited experience. I also mention at the end where biomimicry will not help you, a subject often glossed over, as well as further resources (books and schools).

And to get the discussion going here in Gristmill, are there any natural designs that you think humans can steal learn from?