In 1989, Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Train had a problem: it caused a loud sound whenever it exited a tunnel, a sound that could be heard 400 meters away. This constituted an annoying problem for people who were living near those tunnels. So, Japan decided to design a new train; the new train had components that were based on birds: Owls inspired the pantogragh; the Adelie Penguin inspired the pantograph supporting shaft; and most notably, the kingfisher whose unique beak inspired the train nose which reduced the noise to be under the noise limit in residential areas. There is a name for designs like this: it is called biomimicry.
The term "Biomimicry" was coined by Janine Benyus who wrote a book named "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature" that told the story of innovations in computing, energy, and health that were inspired by the natural world. She suggests that designers should bring a biologist to the table to help in solving problems by mimicking nature.
This post is based completely on the following video from Vox: