Even in this digital age, we continue to extract ideas and materials from insects and their relatives. However, the challenge of today may be to avoid a strictly utilitarian view of other organisms, whereby a species is expendable if it cannot demonstrate economic value that can be measured in dollars.
Engineers may recognize the internal muscle structure of a honey bee abdomen for its resemblance to a Stewart platform, a mechanical device that enables six degrees of freedom in movement. Researchers who have found its natural equivalent in bees say the discovery is already informing their work in designing articulating nose cones for rockets.
Some insects look like science-fiction stars precisely because the creative minds behind popular entertainment look to insects to spark their imagination.
In the course of history, entomology has at times intersected with humanity's militaristic motives. From deploying harmful insects against enemies to modeling technological advances on insect biomechanics, explore some of the ways insects have been used in human warfare.