How geckos toes grip – a blueprint for biomimicry?
Geckos can be found sprinting up trees, walls and windows in hot climates around the world. Pads on their toes hold the secret to their remarkable stickiness – thousands of tiny hairs called setae that produce clingy Van der Waals' forces. A gecko might use its gripping power – capable of supporting a 100 times its own weight – when leaping away from predators onto springy leaves – but they’ve also attracted the attention of scientists’ developing gecko-inspired robots, Searching for ways to improve their biomimicry, researchers recently discovered that having multiple toes helps the gecko adapt its movement to changes underfoot – redistributing its weight quickly when switching between slippery and firm surfaces. In the future, gecko-like toes could be built into helpful devices from small soft grippers to medical robots, holding tight in the changing, fluid environments of the human body.
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