Innovators are full of questions.
Nature has answers.

AskNature provides innovators with the world’s most comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges. This curated online library features free information on over 1,800 (and growing!) natural phenomena and hundreds of bio-inspired applications.

Did you know?

Pomelo fruit can strike the ground from heights over 30 feet without showing signs of damage, thanks to a composite and hierarchically organized peel structure. This structure inspired the recent development of an aluminum composite material being considered for use in safety applications.

What will you AskNature?

How does nature prevent turbulence?

Serrated feather shapes allow owls to fly without creating turbulence or noise. Mechanical engineers have emulated these shapes to design fans and turbines that are nearly silent.

How does nature optimize networks?

As slime mold spreads, it organizes into noded networks that efficiently connect its food sources. Planners and engineers are studying how slime mold might help optimize our own networks.

How does nature move efficiently?

Fish in schools save energy by swimming in vortices created by their neighbors. Researchers are using similar principles to find optimal positions for tight arrays of vertical-axis wind turbines.

From systemic problems like climate change to more localized issues like managing waste, AskNature presents information that helps designers and innovators solve challenges using materials and processes that are healthy for people and the planet.


Nearly every design challenge humans face shares commonalities with the challenges the rest of life has adapted to over billions of years of evolutionary trial-and-error. AskNature helps innovators understand how these adaptations work, empowering them to emulate forms, processes, and systems that have evolved to thrive in balance with Earth’s complex systems.

Since its launch in 2008, AskNature has attracted over 2 million students, educators, and professionals spanning fields across design, engineering, science, and business. These users include everyone from product designers focused on structure and behavior, to materials scientists exploring nano- and micro-scale protein synthesis, to entrepreneurs thinking about relationships and whole systems, to research biologists documenting new natural phenomena. They all rely on AskNature for information to inspire innovation, conduct research, and teach biomimicry.

In fall 2016, the Institute released a brand-new version of AskNature, with an improved navigation and search experience that is fast, fun, and mobile friendly, and new tools that make it easy for members to collect, create, and share content. Watch this video to see the newest AskNature features and how you can use them to support your innovation process:

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AskNature for life-friendly solutions, no matter what your challenge.

“AskNature allowed the NYSERDA Biomimicry Technical Assistance team to search for biological analogues that were then used to brainstorm solutions to existing industry energy problems.”

Namita Kallianpurkar

Environmental Advisor, Terrapin Bright Green

“I have done biomimicry projects with a variety of age levels from 3rd graders to aerospace engineers. [AskNature] is a great context to take on a new perspective in design and the outcomes are often very creative.”

Ayora Berry

Educator, Curriculize

“If it wasn’t for AskNature, it would have taken much longer to do research, which would have made the project at the time unfeasible.”

Carlos Rego

Product Designer, Logoplaste Innovation Lab

AskNature is evolving


Content as diverse as life on this planet

State-of-the-art search tools

Case studies and design-ready translations of nature’s patterns

Geographic tools that support regional design solutions

Team collaboration tools that transform your ideas into innovations

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We believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyze a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet. Let’s make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing. We hope you will join us.

Chameleon image via Shutterstock.
Pomelo image via Shutterstock
Pomelo Illustration © Emily Harrington
Owl image via Shutterstock
Slime Mold image via stephanie davidson, Flickr cc by-nc-sa
Fish image via Shutterstock
Bioswales image via Dylan Passmore, Flickr cc by-nc
iPad image (modified) via Shutterstock


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