You can explore our online examples of how new science is uncovering the secrets behind billion-year-old inventions.
Humans have been inventing since the first spear was fashioned. Nature, using tiny scales of size and vast scales of time, has been inventing on a much more complicated and successful level. Now that we are able to work at smaller scales, people are starting to understand how nature transforms sunlight into energy, or how it creates structures that require no heat and no toxins to build. If we can find inspiration in those inventions, we may be on the cusp of a non-industrial revolution.
The impacts of this could change everything. Uncovering the process that frogs use to freeze solid could change healthcare, especially for transplants. There are moths that have eyes that reflect no light, a great asset for night vision, and even more promising for solar power. Solar cells now in production reflect 30 percent of what strikes them. Using the structure found in moth eyes cuts that to zero increasing the efficiency of solar energy systems. And what about making energy out of the sun the way plants do? That, and recyclable textiles made the way spiders make silk, are also on the table.
Did you know loons have their own internal desalination plants so they can drink salt water during their winters at sea? Companies are working to replicate what loons do to make more fresh water available around the world. The list of ideas goes on, and every time a new idea is discovered it starts with someone watching nature, (is that loon drinking salt water?) and wondering. Computer companies are watching ants communicate to see how they spread news so fast, and they are watching to see how bees vote and how swarming locusts never crash into each other.
Look around you, and see a world of invention that can make our current best efforts look a little old fashioned.