Climb der Waals with gecko-inspired grippers

in science on (#2V6P)
New invention outperforms nature with new gecko-inspired devices that have been used to climb glass walls. "To be able to climb glass felt a little bit magical — it feels like you're hooking this device onto a perfectly flat smooth surface, and it doesn't feel possible," Hawkes said.

Geckos can scale vertical walls and even hang upside down because their plump toes are covered in hundreds of microscopic bristles called setae, which generate a kind of electric force known as van der Waals force, strong enough to keep geckos stuck onto surfaces. The devices are about the size of a human hand but are nevertheless strong enough to support the weight of a person. In contrast, real gecko feet would require a sticky surface at least 186 square inches (1,200 square centimeters) large, nearly twice the size of a modern tennis racket.

In addition to futuristic gear used by soldiers and spies to climb walls, the researchers suggest their new invention could lead to boots that help astronauts conducting spacewalks and to mechanical grippers that snag debris in orbit.

Thieves (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-11-25 11:01 (#2V8X)

I can see this being the must have stocking filler item for aspiring thieves in a few years time :-)
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