Every summer, comic book movies wow audiences with flashy special effects that make superheroes fly, disappear, transform, etc. Many of us can’t help wishing we possessed superpowers of our own. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could crawl up the wall like Spider-Man? Thanks to a little inspiration from nature, manmade devices like adhesives are improving.
Over the past year scientific journals published a number of articles highlighting the remarkable design found throughout nature. These publications specifically note how the research in question will lead to better design for some manmade systems and devices. For example, one paper demonstrated how the slime mold Physarum polycephalum strongly resembles the layout of Tokyo’s railway system .
Yet another paper showed how understanding of a leaf beetle’s ability to adhere to walls and ceilings inspired a powerful, but easily released, adhesive device powered by a small battery. Such a device might allow humans to scale across ceilings like Spidey! No one disputes the intelligence and design this kind of manmade device would exhibit. Likewise, the fact that biological organisms inspire these tools argues for intelligence and design behind all of nature.