Scientist’s are always on the quest to research and find new methods of improving designs. In their quest many design inspirations come from extracting and analyzing data from natures own designs. Nature’s design comes from an evolutionary process that takes millions of years and is still on going to today, its secret, surviving to pass on a species genes to the next generation. Man has taken design tips from nature for countless years, bringing inventions such as airplanes for people to travel great distances in shorter time spans.
The latest nature driven design is dry adhesive sticky pads that work the same way a gecko’s feet works. This invention was inspired and designed by analyzing the feet of geckos, by getting an up-close picture of the mechanics behind the geckos feet researchers were able to extrapolate the necessary data to produce their very own gecko adhesive. The mechanism behind the geckos feet is when its micro hairs come in contact with the surface and bends, the increase of surface area increases the stickiness as well, and when the micro hairs are back to being straight the gecko’s feet unstick.
There are countless of applications for this dry adhesive ranging from fastening robotics with this technology to be deployed in hot zones and hard to reach areas. The latest application is NASA wanting to implement this technology for robots to aid in the inspection and repairs to the International Space Station (ISS). Other plans for this useful technology is to give this gecko adhesive to the astronauts in the near future to “anchor” any handheld items to the walls of the station such as pictures, charts, and clipboards. The gecko adhesive, planned to be supplied in sizes of 1 by 4, 2 by 6, and 3 by 8 inches.
Gecko adhesive technology is one of many technological breakthroughs inspired by nature that can be applied to many other facets of industry due to its impressive properties, ability to hold heavy weight to its low weight ratio, and can be manufactured for consumer application. Thanks to nature’s design we now have a new invention to progress our own progress.
Video by BBC Science