The shark and the butterfly, even the lowly pine cone, are inspiring scientists and engineers to create new materials ranging from paint that changes colour to clothing that adapts to changes in temperature. This field of science is known as ‘biomimetics’. The concept isn’t new – Velcro, which is based on the way tiny hooks found on burrs stick to clothing and animal fur – was patented back in the 1950s. But biomimetics is now starting to come into its own. Here are some of the new products that have been inspired by nature.