Did you know that Velcro (seen above) is an invention inspired by the way burrs stick to a dog's fur? True. Even more unbelievably, Velcro was invented in 1948 -- 60 years ago. It seems not every great idea sails into flight upon conception. A lesson there! NASA, for the record, was one of the first users of Velcro -- in 1972.
The concept of using nature to help design and inspire innovation is as old as man, but it's also got a name -- biomimetics. This month's National Geographic has a very well-written feature about this new science, accompanied (of course) by National-Geographic-quality photographs. And here's the best part -- the whole thing is online, and even comes with video. Check it out!