Walk on Walls Using Geckskin

Duncan Irschick and Al Crosby have been working together at UMass Amherst to develop Geckskin. Using a gecko’s foot for inspiration, Geckskin can hold considerable weight while not leaving residue or marks behind like conventional tape or nails would.

For years, biologist have been amazed by the power of gecko feet, which allow these 5-ounce lizards to produce an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall without slipping. Now, a team of polymer scientists and a biologist at UMass Amherst have discovered exactly how the gecko does it, leading them to invent Geckskin, a device that can hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall.

Making the Geckskin out of common materials allows the scientists to keep costs low and affordable. The scientists explain their material in the video:

What it does, is it just drapes easily over the surface…and it can hold 700 pounds on an index sized pad…then with a simple twist of the pad, it peels off with zero force and it doesn’t mark the surface at all. And one of the most important things is you can do this over and over again.

Geckskin Adhesive Material Example

DARPA has invested in Geckskin which has managed to reach the prototype phase. DARPA is clear about their intentions behind investing in these types of materials:

Geckos, spiders and small animals are the inspiration behind the Z-Man program.  These creatures scale vertical surfaces using unique systems that exhibit strong reversible adhesion via van der Waals forces or hook-into-surface asperities.  Z-Man seeks to build synthetic versions of these biological systems, optimize them for efficient human climbing and use them as novel climbing aids.

While DARPA may envision Spider-Man suits and wall-scaling robots, average consumers will immediately see a fast and easy way to mount large televisions and household appliances. Geckskin has already begun winning sustainability challenges and receiving press coverage. Consider this factoid, Geckskin can be used hundreds of times without deterioration of adhesion and the material can be washed. Geckskin will affect the fundamental ways engineers and consumers think about manufacturing, adhesion, and reuse.

Dennis Bonilla has been a user experience designer, software developer, and digital strategist and is currently the Chief Technology Officer for a VR start-up. Dennis co-founded Unified Pop Theory with his friends. Dennis is a trend finder and idea maker who is inspired by individuals that believe the world can be changed one great project at a time. Dennis can be reached on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

8 Comments

  1. I am also here due to science friction how did you make it

    • Thomas King - 04/20/2016 reply

      Same but when do you think this will be avalible for sale also it might be easier to use the tranchula adhesive than making a fabric to imitate gekoskin

  2. Honesty great job guys this is really cool i would love to get some

  3. ScienceFriction (youtube) brought me here – very interesting stuff we are all dying to know how it is made so cheaply

  4. Epicstuffman - 01/29/2014 reply

    Call like if it only cost $.25 why don’t you tell you how to make it????

    • hereticaljavascripter - 01/30/2014 reply

      Well, they probably spent a lot of money in research and want to make money off of it somehow.

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