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"... virtually unique in their ability to attain dry stickiness."
August 27, 2002 11:25 AM   Subscribe

"... virtually unique in their ability to attain dry stickiness." geckos are talented little buggers, that's for certain. effective pitchmen, as well. but what about those toes? just how does a gecko manage to shimmy up the slippery side of your aquarium with the greatest of ease? well, according to researchers at lewis and clark university, it all comes down to hair....
posted by grabbingsand (12 comments total)

 
Could a glove equipped with similar tiny hairs help a person cling to a wall like Spider-Man, the cartoon and film character? "I watched 'Spider-Man' on an airplane and I couldn't help thinking we could do better than that someday," Autumn said.

I want that.
posted by NekulturnY at 11:38 AM on August 27, 2002


And then I'll wait for that webshooting thingy in my wrist.
posted by NekulturnY at 11:39 AM on August 27, 2002


oh, GECKO.
posted by tomplus2 at 11:44 AM on August 27, 2002


I'm putting off becoming a serious rock-climber until I can get some Van der Waals gloves. (explanation of VdW forces - 1, 2)
posted by vacapinta at 11:44 AM on August 27, 2002


I always wondered, how do the people mistakenly call up Gecko when they want Geico? Do they look in the Yellow Pages? One would think most partisan, conformist, instant-messaging, Steve-is-so-cute-so-I'll-buy-a-Dell people would go to the website. I mean, it looks like every facet of that little green guy's life is interrupted by some jackass calling for auto insurance.

Well, at least he has those little hairs to help him pick up the phone.
posted by caustic at 11:45 AM on August 27, 2002


Okay, wait. Can someone more learned than I explain the difference between the current story and those that were published over two years ago?

Are we just recycling news here in the dog days of summer or is there something new here? I don't see it.
posted by xiffix at 12:12 PM on August 27, 2002


Make that Lewis and Clark College, my alma mater.
posted by daver at 12:30 PM on August 27, 2002


ah. forgive me, daver. the same thing happens to me from time to time. i attended berry college, though some mistakenly place me at berry university.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:35 PM on August 27, 2002


"We confirmed it's geometry, not surface chemistry, that enables a gecko to support its entire body with a single toe.."

Heh. Cool. While back I had a math professor who was deeply into geometry and visual learning stuff - iirc, he'd spent something like 20 years in the field (interestingly, his BSc was in logic, at MIT..) He does a lot of research into protein folding and such, and he's fond of saying "Basically, everything boils down to geometry."
posted by slipperywhenwet at 1:14 PM on August 27, 2002


xiffix - Can someone more learned than I explain the difference between the current story and those that were published over two years ago?

They eliminated water-based attraction mechanisms (like wet sand sticking together) from the list of possible explanations, leaving only the dry van der waal's force as the explanation.

Basically, there's no goo involved in making it sticky.
posted by NortonDC at 1:56 PM on August 27, 2002


One interesting thing about this that the article did not touch on, is that the problem isn't making something using this technology stick, it's pulling it off the wall at will.

If you were to have gloves that allowed you to adhere yourself to something just like a gecko, you would have to have some way of lifting up your hand to climb. The way that geckos do it is by contorting their hand (actually rolling their fingers backwards on top of themselves) which dislodges them.

If we want to be able to climb walls like this, we will need to come up with some clever way of unsticking ourselves.
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on August 27, 2002


Could a glove equipped with similar tiny hairs help a person cling to a wall like Spider-Man, the cartoon and film character? "I watched 'Spider-Man' on an airplane and I couldn't help thinking we could do better than that someday," Autumn said.

I want that.


GECKO FEET FOR EVERYONE!!!
posted by 40 Watt at 7:14 AM on August 28, 2002


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