Tags: gecko | toe | hairs | stickiness | study

Gecko Toe Hairs the Secret to Feet Stickiness, Study Says

By    |   Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 08:56 PM

A new study released Tuesday shows that gecko toe hairs are the secret to the animals being able to control the way in which they adhere themselves to objects.

The reserach, published in the Journal of Applied Physics, said geckos can use their toe hairs to control the stickiness of their feet.

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Alex Greaney, an engineering professor at Oregon State University and the study’s lead author, told LiveScience: "A gecko by definition is not sticky — he has to do something to make himself sticky. It's this incredible synergy of the flexibility, angle and extensibility of the hairs that makes it possible."

According to LiveScience, the stickiness of the gecko’s feet is part of a “balance of forces” that has been discovered in regard to the angle of the tiny creature’s toe hairs. Geckos are able to “stick and unstick their feet so quickly that they can scurry across surfaces at 20 body lengths per second,” according to the website.

Geckos have what are called setae, hundreds of microscopic hairs that cover the creatures' toes, allowing them to stick to surfaces and defy gravity.

“The setae sprouting off the bottom of a gecko's feet don't stand straight up at a 90-degree angle, but instead branch out at oblique angles,” LiveScience explains. “The mathematical model shows that if the hairs bend at an angle closer to horizontal, the surface area that the geckos can stick to increases, and the geckos can support more weight.”

Scientists are studying geckos' feet in hopes of being able to copy some of their mind-boggling capabilities.

"While we don't envision Mission Impossible sticky gloves, which are inspired by or based on the concept of gecko adhesion, we envision that robots will use gecko adhesion in extreme environments in the future," Greaney said in the study.

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A new study released Tuesday shows that gecko toe hairs are the secret to the animals being able to control the way in which they adhere themselves to objects.
gecko, toe, hairs, stickiness, study
326
2014-56-12
Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 08:56 PM
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