Skip to main content

Gecko Feet and Adhesives

Scientists are adapting the gecko's 'sticky feet' to create bonding materials for sporting equipment and robots.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Watching a gecko hang out (literally) on a wall, you'd think the creature had just stepped in superglue. Actually, it's all in the toes. There, hundreds of tiny saucer-like structures known as spatula attach to millions of hairs allowing the lizard to stick to practically anything — even when upside down. Now scientists are adapting the trait to create bonding materials for sporting equipment as well as climbing robots — perfect for inspecting the hulls of spacecraft. The gecko's natural adhesive wizardry is also being developed for medical applications. These include skin patches to deliver drugs as well as a biodegradable tape to replace sutures and staples normally used in gastric bypass procedures. Not only could this limit the time a patient spends in surgery, but the tape would also reduce complications due to accidental puncture wounds.