7 Start-Ups Imitating Mother Nature

Flickr image via flickkerphotos
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When it comes to swimming equipment, no one beats the humpback whale.

When marine biologist Frank Fish saw a sculpture of the aquatic giant, he noticed the little bumps on his flipper -- bumps that increase "drag" according to engineering principles.

Research has shown the complex shape generates tiny water cyclones for a smoother lift. Fish created WhalePower, which produces tubercle blades for fans as well as turbines modeled after the humpback.