Everyone knows geckos have extraordinary powers of adhesion, able to clamber up vertical windows with remarkable ease. With the "Geckskin", a team of scientists have replicated the effect to produce a flat, index-card sized piece of material capable of carrying a 700-pound (318-kg) load - easily enough for a flatscreen television. It can be removed with ease and leaves no unpleasant oomska. And interestingly, it doesn't work as you might think.
As is so often the case these days for those searching for a better way to stick stuff together, researchers from the Zoological Institute at the University of Kiel in Germany have turned to the biology of gravity-defying ceiling walkers, such as geckos and insects. These creatures served as inspiration for a new dry adhesive tape that not only boasts impressive bonding strength, but can also be attached and detached thousands of times without losing its adhesive properties.
Few things are as disconcerting, or as curious, as the sight of a gecko or spider skittering effortlessly upside down along the ceiling. This ability is known to be facilitated by microscopic hairs or "setae" on the footpads of insects and mammals and a better understanding of their function could lead to advances in synthetic adhesives, wall climbing robots
and yes, even the the holy-grail of the spiderman suit
. Now for the first time, scientists studying leaf beetles have been able to measure the adhesive force from single setae in a live animal and in the process expand our knowledge of the role they play in clinging to diverse surfaces.
The biology of a gecko’s foot that gives the lizard its remarkable climbing ability has been used by engineers at Stanford University to create a robot that can climb smooth surfaces including a wall of slick glass. With feet modeled on the intricate design of gecko toes, the Stickybot could lead to the development of robots that can scale vertical surfaces to access dangerous or hard to reach places.