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'Animals are amazing.'
'And the more we find out about them, the more amazing they seem.'
That feels pretty harsh.
'That's why scientists all over the world are trying their best
'to copy them.'
This is in the future.
'Making brand-new inventions...' Tomato juice.
'..based on what animals can do.
'Some are astounding...'
We've just dived under the sea.
This is not at all pleasant.
Yes, it's gone!
'..but they're all inspired by the Miracles Of Nature.
'How one tiny butterfly could help waterproof electronics.'
Can we be frank just for a minute? Because this is important.
We need to address an embarrassing social problem.
Has this ever happened to you?
An amazing 19% of us admit to having, at one time or another,
dropped our mobile phone down the loo.
Actually, it's worse than that, because only 40% of us overall
admit to taking our phone in with us in the first place.
So if 19% drop it down...
That's half of everybody who takes their phone into the loo
drops it down there.
I'm afraid to say it seems to be predominantly women.
Must be the whole, you know, sitting-down thing. Whatever!
Anyway, ultimately it leads... well, to this.
Yeah. Telecommunications and toilets.
Not something with which you'd imagine the genius of nature
could really help.
But it can.
And the answer can be found
deep in the heart of the South American rainforest.
As the name suggests, the rainforest gets an enormous amount of rainfall,
so much that many of the plants and animals there
have had to learn ways to cope.
These leaves use layers of wax to stop water ever settling on them.
It just rolls away like liquid silver balls.
This spider uses its dense covering of tiny hairs to stay dry.
The hairs trap a thin layer of air...
..meaning this spider can swim.
And when it leaves the water, it's completely dry.
But there is one creature even more ingenious.
This Morpho butterfly is a master of repelling water.
And with good cause.
If just one of those heavy raindrops was to settle on its wing,
it would become so unbalanced, it would fall out of the sky.
And if just a fraction of a drop was absorbed,
it could damage the wing permanently.
Lucky, then, that the water just beads up and runs off...
..allowing the butterfly to find safety and shelter.
Despite the shiny appearance of the wing,
this is not some sort of rubberised coating.
It's something far cleverer than that.
But to find out what, we need to look closer.
A thousand times closer.
Because although the wing looks totally smooth,
it's actually covered in millions of tiny waffle-shaped ridges.
This model represents that distinctive pattern,
and this balloon represents a water droplet.
If it lands on the wing, only the tiniest part of it
would ever come into contact with the actual surface
because it balances on these ridges.
In fact, less than 1% of any raindrop
ever even touches the butterfly's wing.
They call this property "hydrophobia" -
literally "water-hating" -
and it's a property so impressive
and so potentially useful,
that it's no surprise we've tried to copy it.
This laboratory in Oxfordshire thinks it's succeeded.
They've worked out a way to spray an artificial hydrophobic coating
onto, well, just about everything.
And if you don't believe me, just watch.
We've put together a machine to explore this hydrophobic quality
and all it needs to get it started is a couple of drops of water.
We've created this machine
out of things we thought might benefit from being hydrophobic.
A newspaper that never gets soggy.
An egg carton that never gets sticky.
A teapot that never dribbles.
Kitchen utensils, spatulas, spoons and mixing bowls
that never get dirty.
Gloves that stay dry
whether you're gardening or snowballing.
And summer blockbusters that you can read by the pool.
And, finally, the piece de resistance...
So I've had THIS made.
It's a suit, but it's been hydrophobically coated,
which means, technically, I should be able to spill anything on it.
Mustard - English.
You see, it all just flies off. Brilliant.
Right, hope there's nothing else.
Because the thing we really want to repel water is our phone.
Back to the lab.
We've put a standard model into an airtight chamber,
where it's subjected to a vacuum.
Next, it's exposed to charged gas particles which prepare
every surface for the hydrophobic coating.
And I do mean every surface, both outside and in.
Moving parts, electrical contacts, circuit boards, processors
all get covered by a thin layer of textured plastic,
a thousand times thinner than a human hair.
Which is all very impressive, but does it work?
Let's start again, shall we?
This is my old phone, and it's ruined.
I dropped it in the loo, You saw me do it.
This is my new phone. It's exactly the same,
but it's been treated with a special hydrophobic coating.
Not a waterproof cover, remember. Water will still get in.
It's just it should then run off every component inside.
Should. That's the theory.
So let's do it again.
And I really hope this does work because this is getting expensive.
Yeah, can you get me some antibacterial wipes?
No, a lot.
Just imagine if any electrical device could be waterproof.
No more water-damaged phones.
No more flood-damaged televisions.
And no more coffee-damaged keyboards.
And all thanks to the South American rainforest...
and one small butterfly.
That's definitely one of the miracles of nature.