"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources"
We observe forms, functions and systems and adapt them to serve our interests. We can apply this principle to almost any product or technology and find the absolute origin is always nature. Here are some examples...
Thorns deter animals from eating the plant and form a natural barrier. We have adapted this for security and farming.
Bats detect prey using sonar. Submarines mimic this to detect other vessels.
We observe blood flow in the body to optimise water flow in plumbing.
Cats eyes reflect light. We mimic this effect with mirrors.
We copy nature then copy our copies. We once sent smoke signals across the valley. Twenty, thirty, forty copies later we're sending videos across the planet.
The only thing that limits our "mimicry" is technology. We cannot yet reproduce the intelligence of the brain, or the maneuverability of the body... but one day we will.
Nano technology allows us to observe nature at a billionth of a meter. Combine this with additive layer manufacturing and we can mimic incredibly intricate natural structures.
Solar Power. Waterproofing. Gravity Defying. Unparalleled Strength!
Not to mention smart materials. Self-healing plastics (autonomic polymers) hold exciting potential. Drop your phone and watch it heal itself just like a tree. Or the Terminator in Terminator 2.
I urge you to copy, refine, combine. And always look to mother nature for inspiration - she's been working on it for 4.5 billion years.