A few examples of biomimicry include the inventions of Velcro, passive cooling and self-healing plastic. Biomimicry is the process of taking an example from nature and using it to engineer devices and create applications that solve human and world problems.
The idea for Velcro came in 1941 from Swiss engineer George de Mestral. He observed how burrs stuck to the fur of his dog. He used this concept to create a system that let hooked material attach to a nylon pad to fasten material together.
The Eastgate Centre building in Harare, Zimbabwe was modeled after the way termites build their homes. The mounds of termites have vents throughout that maintain air circulation. Cool air enters the lower vents, while hot air escapes from the upper openings. Eastgate builders used a similar model to construct a building that uses 10 percent less energy than buildings of similar size.
The body is able to form scabs to heal itself from cuts and scrapes. This concept is what researchers used to design self-healing plastic. Hollow fibers contain epoxy resin that is released upon a crack, creating a seal or plastic "scab" to fix the equipment. This technology is being developed for use in the automotive industry.