Geckos use 200-nm hairs to climb

from the no,-literally-climbing-the-walls dept.
ChrisPhoenix writes "Researchers have discovered how gecko lizards stick to walls and ceilings. They have 500,000 hairs on each foot; each one subdivides into hundreds of 200-micron 'spatulae'. They speculate that these hairs are small enough to use the van der Waals force to adhere to, well, anything–even glass. A single hair will support 20 milligrams. Now they're talking about manufacturing similar stuff for robotics applications. A remaining puzzle: how does the gecko keep its feet clean?"

You can view an SF Chronicle article if you hurry, or some cool pictures and movies on the researchers' web site.

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