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From bricks grown from bacteria to cement derived from the reef building process of coral, biomimicry has taken the world by storm. A collection of products inspired by this phenomenon are showcased inBloomberg’s article “14 Smart Inventions Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry,” ranging from transportation breakthroughs to ingenious feats of engineering. Read on after the break for two highlighted architectural inventions inspired by the natural world.

Beijing’s National Aquatics Center, built for the 2008 Olympics, is a prime example of biomimicry. Known as “the Watercube,” the design derives its shape from the make-up of soap bubbles, which coincidentally strengthens its resistance to seismic activity. Each plastic “bubble” serves a higher purpose within the space, capturing air warmed by the sun and transferring its heat into the pool. Made of a highly durable plastic, the Watercube’s surface is protected from the sun’s damaging effects, weather, and settling dust.

Recent strides in engineering have also produced this biomimicry feat: Spiderweb Glass. Inspired by a particular collection of spiderwebs that use silk threads to reflect ultraviolet light, Spiderweb Glass seals an ultraviolet-reflecting coating into its surface. The coating’s placement mirrors that of a spiderweb and serves to warn birds (which cannot perceive regular glass) of the obstacle.

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