Check that thing out. That's a Thorny Devil Lizard. The nasty spikes all over its body have grooves in them, and when dew collects on its body, the dew is actually drawn towards its mouth through capillary action, providing it with something to drink.
That's a piece of bamboo. Despite being thin, it's super-strong and resists buckling due to the "transverse bulkheads" that make up its structure.
That's a toucan, as in Toucan Sam. Sam's beak is "lightweight and strong thanks to a rigid foamy inside and layers of fibrous keratin tile outside."
All of these natural phenomena and more are posted in the "Strategy" section of The Biomimicry Institute's Ask Nature website, expressly for the purpose of inspiring designers, engineers and inventors to create bio-inspired solutions to problems we face. As the site puts it,
Imagine 3.8 billion years of design brilliance available for free, at the moment of creation, to any sustainability innovator in the world.
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function....
Now imagine you can meet the people who have studied these organisms, and together you can create the next great bio-inspired solution.
That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. Think of it as your home habitat--whether you're a biologist who wants to share what you know about an amazing organism, or a designer, architect, engineer, or chemist looking for planet-friendly solutions. AskNature is where biology and design cross-pollinate, so bio-inspired breakthroughs can be born.
Check it all out here.