Watch a gecko scramble up a wall and along the ceiling, and after a moment of amazement you might begin to wonder how they perform such acts of 'gription'. Similar amazement must have inspired scientists like Kellar Autumn, to investigate the gecko, and puzzle over the affable creatures incredible abilities.
While not all of the secrets of a gecko's ability are fully understood, we here at Treehugger have covered the score of attempts at creating gecko inspired glue, and gecko inspired tape. We would be remiss if we did not keep up on such developments. Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a polypropylene microfiber that is likely the most inexpensive and accurate gecko mimic product yet created.Ron Fearing, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, along with Jongho Lee, Bryan Schubert, and Carmel Majidi worked on the new gecko adhesive. One of the other major difference with this new gecko inspired adhesive is that it is directionally sticky. The tape only achieves grip when it slides along a smooth surface, not when it is pressed down. This more closely resembles the action of the live gecko itself.
Keller Autumn had positive things to day about this new development:
"This is a major milestone in the new field of gecko-inspired adhesives...Fearing's adhesive is made from a plastic that is very hard like real gecko protein so it is not 'sticky' to the touch. Also, just like what we found in real gecko foot hairs, Fearing's microfiber arrays are sticky only when they slide across a surface. This could be the first real gecko tape."
I'm sure this is not the last we will see from the mighty gecko. For a fun video and more information visit the Smart Gecko Tape website.
via ::UC Berkeley News