Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Gecko Inspired Tape

PostedMarch 25, 2012

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lede: Insects use tiny hairs to help them climb smooth walls. The gecko lizard does the same thing, with a lot more weight. That has engineers intrigued.

Randy Atkins: Gecko toes have unique hair-like structures that are soft enough to conform to a surface but are attached to tendens stiff enough to support weight...while they easily stick and un-stick to a wall.

Al Crosby: It’s really a novel set of properties from the perspective of engineers.

Randy Atkins: Al Crosby, of the University of Massachusetts, has mimicked that with a re-usable rubber-coated fabric engineered to have an easily reversible, yet very strong, adhesiveness.

Al Crosby: It can hold up to 700 pounds and then with a little flip of the wrist you can take it off with virtually no effort.

Randy Atkns: Crosby says the new tape can hold a flat screen T-V on your wall for at least as long as a ball game, and not leave a mark when you take it down. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

Anchor Tag: More testing needs to be done to ensure it works for long periods, so it’s not quite ready for your home.