From Popular Science: Sometimes, a trick gets pulled off better in nature than it does in a laboratory. That might be the case with new research claiming fireflies’ unique lanterns can be reverse-engineered for LED lights, making the bulbs as much as 55 percent more efficient. With help from scanning electron microscopes, the team took a deep look at the internal structure of fireflies from the genus Photuris and found scales on the cuticles in a “factory roof shape.” (Think slanted shingles.) Computer simulations showed how those cuticles helped tone down the internal-reflection problem. There’s something else, the researchers realized, that has the same problem: human-made lights.

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