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Geckskin: Adhesive Material Inspired by Gecko Feet

In the movie Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise climbed the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai with the help of special gloves that "stick" to the wall.

Such gloves may not be in the real of fiction for much longer, thanks to researchers who invented material inspired by gecko feet:

For years, biologists have been amazed by the power of gecko feet, which let these 5-ounce lizards produce an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall without slipping. Now, a team of polymer scientists and a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered exactly how the gecko does it, leading them to invent "Geckskin," a device that can hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall.

Link - via Next Big Future


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This will revolutionize apartment living. No more worrying about whether that family portrait will be taken out of your security deposit because you used too large of a nail!
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This isn't really a new discovery, but more an incremental update. They've been researching and testing this material at UC Berkeley for a while now (first paper in 2002 I think): http://robotics.eecs.berkeley.edu/%7Eronf/Gecko/index.html

It sounds like they're using a slightly different approach here, but similar concepts (although they're vague enough it could me more different). Still, always exciting to see improvement in the field. Our bloated defense budget does at least get partially routed to basic research.
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