Upside-Down Gecko: Courtesy kimo2000
American Scientist recently featured an article describing the super-adhesive quality of gecko toes. How do geckos run up walls or across ceilings? Let's break it down with the help of researcher Kellar Autumn:

Gecko toe pads are sticky because of their extraordinary smart adhesive structures. These structures are composed of numerous hairlike setae branching into hundreds of tiny networks. When these networks come in contact with a surface, an intermolecular van der Waals force is created. The ridges on a gecko’s toe are covered with setae allowing the gecko to detach from surfaces quickly, adhere to numerous surfaces and stay relatively clean. Thus, Autumn concluded that a 50-gram gecko with 6.5 million setae is able to generate enough force to support the weight of two people.

Will new adhesives surface shadowing a gecko’s toes? Instead of Spiderman, a fictional character, perhaps “Gecko-man” will someday be a reality. For instance researchers at Carnegie Mellon University created a synthetic setae exhibiting similar forces when compared to gecko setae. Likewise, scientists in California are experimenting with material coated with synthetic gecko setae. Applications could be endless with an incredible grip. Super grip shoes, tires that grip roads in all weather conditions, or actors climbing walls and walking on ceilings without computer graphic assistance. What would you do with material coated with synthetic gecko setae?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i have toes like that!!!

posted on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 9:36am
Dr.Narayan Gandedkar's picture
Dr.Narayan Gandedkar says:

Dear Elisabeth,

I read your article with great interest, I'm an Orthodontist from Singapore.As you might be knowing, my speciality too uses adhesives for sticking braces on to the teeth. But the current products available in the market for sticking of braces to teeth uses adhesives which are way too messy and I would say deteriorating to the tooth structure.
I found the gecko adhesives too be befitting in terms of sticking braces to the tooth structure without any residual efect.
Could you please let me know more about this system, or we could work together to invent something related to the adhesive system using gecko for orthodontics.
I'm open to your suggestion and can provide you with all the information related to adhesive requirement for Orthodontics.

Please think over it and let me know
Dr.Narayan Gandedkar BDS,MDS,FCFO

posted on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 9:26pm

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