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Gecko-Inspired Tape Can Be Reused Thousands of Times

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the future-of-sticky dept.

Science 95

Zothecula writes "As is so often the case these days for those searching for a better way to stick stuff together, researchers from the Zoological Institute at the University of Kiel in Germany have turned to the biology of gravity-defying ceiling walkers, such as geckos and insects. These creatures served as inspiration for a new dry adhesive tape that not only boasts impressive bonding strength, but can also be attached and detached thousands of times without losing its adhesive properties."

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95 comments

Warning!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974860)

All your first post belong to me!

Switching (5, Funny)

Rendonsmug (1516589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974864)

I could probably save 15% on my dry adhesive bill by switching to this new tape.

Re:Switching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975588)

+9001 funny!

Re:Switching (1)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37977184)

You mean, "People who switched to this new tape saved up to 15% on their adhesive bill!" This is my biggest petpeeve over auto insurance commercials. They are always talking about those who switched, not YOU. OF COURSE those people who switch save money, if they weren't going to save, why would they switch? Throw the "up to" in there, and anyone can make this claim about ANY product. It's Selection Bias [wikipedia.org] pure and simple.

Re:Switching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37977796)

You also might find they raise your bill after you switch. They raised my rates a month later claiming I had a bunch of unreported accidents. Turns out the CLUE report had the wrong driver listed, so they counted all the accidents twice. Once when I told them and once when CLUE told them.

Re:Switching (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37980402)

You also might find they raise your bill after you switch. They raised my rates a month later claiming I had a bunch of unreported accidents. Turns out the CLUE report had the wrong driver listed, so they counted all the accidents twice. Once when I told them and once when CLUE told them.

GET A CLUE

Re:Switching (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37980076)

they weren't going to save, why would they switch?

Better service, more coverage (for the same price, which yes is effectively saving money), closer offices, etc?? There are plenty of reasons besides price for people to switch.

Re:Switching (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37983164)

Better service, more coverage (for the same price, which yes is effectively saving money), closer offices, etc?? There are plenty of reasons besides price for people to switch.

When I was unable to reach my brick and mortar insurance agent repeatedly, I turned to teh internets. The reusable dry adhesive tape people had the one and only website that functioned correctly from Firefox running on Linux, so they got my business.

I have no idea how much money I'm saving, and don't really give two shits.

Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands of* (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974870)

What is next a new story on transparent aluminium?

Re:Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974992)

Or even transparent molybdenium or tinium? Give up, it's aluminum. Have a crumpet...

Re:Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975574)

You mean like this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride

Re:Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37976450)

That's as dumb as saying that rust is the same as iron.

Re:Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976762)

No, what's dumb is alleging that a single crystal ceramic has no significant differences than an amorphous powder of the same chemical compound.

Now perhaps you have unique knowledge of a new elemental aluminum allotrope, but the rest of us used our brains to figure out that "transparent aluminum" would require at the very least some alloying material and crystalline behavior.

Unless of course you're suggesting that Star Trek had no use for science fiction and relied instead on magic ;)

Re:Gecko-Inspired stories Can Be Reused Thousands (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975578)

What is next a new story on transparent aluminium?

Do you mean aluminium oxide (Al2O3), also known as sapphire glass.
Haven't happened much newsworthy in that field the last decade.

Velcro (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974878)

They invented universal Velcro?

Re:Velcro (1)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976584)

Nature did, geckos perfected it.

Re:Velcro (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976776)

No, velcro works by having tiny hooks grab fibers of cloth. Gecko feet (like this is patterned after) use van der Waals forces. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Velcro (1)

whyrat (936411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37987488)

This is the "silent velcro" from Garden State. Their product placement and marketing is just way ahead of the game, advertising before the product is even invented!

In the lab (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974884)

In real life it will be covered in dust and hair and stick to that crap instead of your surface after a few removals.

Re:In the lab (3, Informative)

morgaen (1896818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975570)

I heartily recommend you take a gander at one of these [dyson.com] products.

Re:In the lab (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976176)

If that is true, then does the same logic apply to the gecko's feet?

What keeps their feet free of dust, dirt, hair, and all that other crap? They seem to deal with it just fine.

Perhaps there are other properties at work here that would allow you clean it. Clearly the geckos have evolved a way to deal with those issues.

Re:In the lab (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976318)

(Non technical description)

The way it works is that when the field is turned on, it sticks on anything, when its turned off, nothing stays(It gets a weaker attraction then the other surface). The action of putting the geckos feet against a surface turns it on, and the way it takes the foot off turns it off.

Because of that nothing sticks to the geckos feet for more then a few steps.

Re:In the lab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37976340)

Geckos get the dirt off much the same way you get dirt off your skin. Flexibly controlled by muscles causing constant minuscule reshaping of the surface causes loose particles to fall off.

This tape is mechanical and won't move around and flex at the small scale like a biological surface with connective tissue would therefore it won't shed all the particles stuck to it.

Re:In the lab (4, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976546)

Geckos get the dirt off much the same way you get dirt off your skin. Flexibly controlled by muscles causing constant minuscule reshaping of the surface causes loose particles to fall off.

Some of us slashdotters actually prefer to shower regularly instead of waiting for "loose particles to fall off".

Re:In the lab (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37977628)

Pics or it didn't happen. No, wait...

Re:In the lab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37978048)

Uh, have you seen a gecko's tongue?

Re:In the lab (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37980308)

Uh, have you seen a gecko's tongue?

Look... I know there is a LOT of porn out there, but I have not yet had time to get to it all yet.

Re:In the lab (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976642)

In real life it will be covered in dust and hair and stick to that crap instead of your surface after a few removals.

One interesting thing about geckos - their feet continue to stick even after walking through dirt and dust. If this tape can really work like gecko feet, the dirt and hair might not be a problem.

You have problems (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976724)

In real life it will be covered in dust and hair and stick to that crap instead of your surface after a few removals.

You have problems if your ceiling is covered in hair.

Re:You have problems (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37980062)

Perhaps he has a very impressive mohawk?

Re:You have problems (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991014)

Nobody on /. is impressive enough to support a mohawk like that.

Re:In the lab (1)

jc79 (1683494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37983820)

But, just like geckos' feet, and unlike sellotape, you can shake the dust and dirt off, or rinse it under water.

This is the same stuff that the recently-featured wall-climbing robot [slashdot.org] uses.

Re:In the lab (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991036)

I guess that's why in real life tape doesn't work~

Please try again, this time engage your brain.

OK, but (1)

reezle (239894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974892)

They mention it works under water. How does it hold up on dusty surfaces, though? I would assume it would get clogged with dust grains like normal tape does, and lose its stickiness after a use or two... (But then again Geckos can walk over a dusty floor, then up a wall, so I'm not sure) Anyone got an answer?

Re:OK, but (2)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975036)

Ehh, nothing a good lick won't fix!
(Having had Geckos, I know that they actually do this quite a bit.)

Re:OK, but (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975346)

Ehh, nothing a good lick won't fix!

. . . or the tape will stick to your tongue. This sounds like "licking a flag pole in winter advice" . . .

(Having had Geckos, I know that they actually do this quite a bit.)

Yeah, but did they hobble around with their feet stuck to their tongues . . . ?

Re:OK, but (2)

Rhacman (1528815) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975808)

It isn't enough to just plant their foot against something for it to stick, the orientation and they way they slide the foot is what controls the adhesion. It has something to do with how all the tiny hairs splay out or come together based on how the foot is pulled across the surface. If their feet just stuck to things indiscriminately it wouldn't be a very useful form of locomotion.

Whoooshh! (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37977944)

===> Joke ===>
    0 /|\
  / \
You. :)

Re:Whoooshh! (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37980106)

ASCII ART [-------] YOU

Re:OK, but (4, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975062)

Gecko feet are not sticky at all.

The little hairs bind to other matter using Van Der Walls forces.

If water does not stick to the little hairs, then dust won't either.

Re:OK, but (0)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975366)

Oh, I thought it was van der Waals forces.

Re:OK, but (2)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975776)

"Van der Waals" force will stick you "on der walls". Easy mistake to make,

Re:OK, but (2, Informative)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975546)

Gecko feet are not sticky at all. The little hairs bind to other matter using Van Der Walls forces.

In other words, they are sticky.

Re:OK, but (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976358)

That's how we explain it to the people on the short bus.

Put your helmet back on and sit down.

Re:OK, but (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975814)

Geckos have learned how to control their midi-chlorians?

Re:OK, but (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976104)

I have noticed tokay geckos can walk around on sand and peat substrates without anything clumping up on their feet. Sometimes I have seen them walk across pea gravel and drag a couple pieces along with them. It looks comical and it's quite apparent that the lizard didn't really want that stone on their toe. My hypothesis is the smaller particulate matter doesn't present enough surface area to accumulate the force required to move it. In order for the gecko to cling to something the ratio of surface area in contact with the pads to mass must exceed some threshold.

In the case of geckos it appears to conveniently exclude sand, water, and dust. Tape might have more problems, but we already use plenty of adhesives that require the surfaces be as clean as possible. This tape certainly sounds like an improvement to the gps mounting technology currently in my car.

Re:OK, but (1)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976312)

Maybe Geckos have a degaussing gland?

Re:OK, but (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976352)

The way it works is that the geckos feet only create the van der Waals forces that make them stick to things when their feet are moved a certain way(sort of downward sliding motion I think). Because of that things only stick when they want them to, and nothing sticks when they don't want it to.

Re:OK, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975174)

I'm rather curious that if it has 'impressive bonding strength', how do you actually detach it without the adhesive a) sticking to the target or b) the target sticking to the tape through the adhesive.

Re:OK, but (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975260)

by using a bigger bit of tape?!?!

Re:OK, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975564)

There is no adhesive on this type of tape, and you remove like you would any other tape: by peeling. You're seeing a picture of a guy hanging from the ceiling by a piece of tape and thinking "man, there's no way to remove that tape". But that fact is, we already have numerous kinds of tape strong enough for that type of demonstration (truthfully almost any kind of tape would work if you had enough of it). The guy is hanging from the middle of the tape, pulling straight down, so he's pulling on all of the tape simultaneously and it's combined strength is able to withstand his weight. If you grabbed a tiny corner of the tape and peeled, you'd only be pulling on a tiny bit of the tape at a time, and it would come right off.

Post It notes (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974930)

They could use it to make something a little like Post It notes, only which actually stick to something for more than 7 seconds.

Re:Post It notes (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975070)

when you yank a note using this new adhesive off your monitor it will rip part of the screen's bezel right off

Re:Post It notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975234)

so you're saying it weakens plastic?

Re:Post It notes (3, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976000)

no, it will instead develop in office workers the upper body strength of a titan

Re:Post It notes (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975460)

Depends on the strength. Since they use (basically) thousands of microscopic hairs, they could vary the strength of adhesion to whatever they want by varying the hairs/ sq. millimeter.

At last... (3, Funny)

erat123 (1114479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974956)

my spider-man suit will be complete!!!

Re:At last... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976414)

Count your steps carefully.

Nine hundred ninety seven.
Nine hundred ninety eight.
Nine hundred ninety nine.
One thous .....

Yaaaahhhh!!!

Re:At last... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37979366)

Wouldn't that be your Gecko-Man(r)(c)(tm) suite?

"Big Tape" Won't Let It Happen (4, Funny)

Petersko (564140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974968)

All geckos will suddenly go extinct, and we'll see a "Scotch" brand van disappear into the night.

Childhood Dreams come true (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975012)

I will be putting this on the bottom of my shoes.

Re:Childhood Dreams come true (4, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975472)

You had dreams about not being able to walk? :)

Re:Childhood Dreams come true (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975838)

He lives in Australia, you insensitive clod!

Re:Childhood Dreams come true (2)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975728)

You jest, but if this thing works as good as advertised, then it could revolutionize climbing gear. Spiderman could be a reality.

Re:Childhood Dreams come true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37976180)

Spiderman is already a reality.

I just went to his kid's Bar Mitzvah last week.

Re:Childhood Dreams come true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37976784)

... works as well as advertised ...

FTFY

Entirely new Myths for the Mythbusters (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975028)

It may take a while for the new myths to come out, but come on how many experiments have they done with Duct Tape?

Red Green's new show (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975256)

Only with this stuff instead of duct tape.

How much noise does it make? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975058)

Reused thousands of times?

If it's quiet, it could be silent velcro [imdb.com] !

Same idea, different year (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975090)

A few years ago similar idea was announced by some company and there was a slashdot story. At least it's just a dupe idea and not a dupe story, kind of like the picturephone

Re:Same idea, different year (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976928)

No, this is a different research group experimenting with some of the same stuff another research group tossed an article [nature.com] out about a few years back. That other group is known for doing weird Friday afternoon studies that have caught the attention of the fun scientists [improbable.com] and boring scientists [nobelprize.org] alike.

Re:Same idea, different year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37983326)

And John Ringo throws a party!

Read Beyond the Looking Glass where he fleshes out how the stuff works.

Walking on the ceiling is easy (5, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975202)

Walking on the ceiling is easy... so easy a caveman could do it.

Re:Walking on the ceiling is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975368)

Lionel Ritchie will be pleased!

Re:Walking on the ceiling is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37979780)

Walking on the ceiling is easy... so easy a caveman could do it.

I'm a caveman, you insensitive clod!

Reused thousands of times! (2)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975236)

And every single time, it could save you a bunch on your car insurance!

Make sure Red Green gets the memo (2)

dstone (191334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975278)

And add another server to the pool at http://thereifixedit.failblog.org/ [failblog.org]

I am a gecko and I already have a patent.....! (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975332)

i can see the Stride tape commercials...

Gecko tape (1, Funny)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975342)

Save 15% or more on your tape purchases, while knowing you're secure.

Soylent Tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975538)

It's Geckos! It's made of Geckos!! Geckos!!

Excellent (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975712)

If they find a way to produce this in large quantities, they'd shake up the adhesive tape market quite a bit. Tape that's very strong and leaves no residue? Sign me up! Even gaffer tape tends to leave residue if left on too long.

Greptile? (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975846)

I just removed similar tape from my bike handlebars cause it was worn out. Granted, it wasn't on the same nano scale, but the tape I used has small hairlike nubs on it that aid in grip, especially when used in conjunction with gloves also having the greptile material on them. Now it seems it is only being used for golf gloves and grips. Worked amazingly well..

tm

Re:Greptile? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37977046)

That sounds more like a variation on velcro.

Gecko-inspired tape? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975928)

So it's a tape that uses too much RAM?

2003 NPR segement on 'Gecko' Tape (1)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976226)

NPR has a segment called "Lizard Study May Create Super-Strong 'Gecko' Tape". It sounds like the idea has gone from concept to proof-of-concept. It's good to know some these ideas do eventually lead to prototypes.

Here is the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1290473 [npr.org]

My new tape will be inspired by Oracle! (1)

Petersko (564140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976396)

Difficult to use, and once applied no solvent in the world will take it off.

Re:My new tape will be inspired by Oracle! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976452)

Like fly paper: Its full of bugs.

Re:My new tape will be inspired by Oracle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37979784)

You're supposed to use insolvency.

Available Where? (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37976736)

These stories pop up ever couple of months, and I'm curious - has anyone played with this stuff before, or know the people working with it? I am *extremely* eager to get my hands on some and would pay almost any price for even prototype material.

dont i have this on my dashboard already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37977310)

isn't the thing that keeps my phone from sliding around on my dashboard the same deal (or in my case my tablet from sliding off my hand)? you can wash em but it doesn't affect it, not chemical bonding.

3..2..1.. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37977702)

..geckos filing for patent injunctions.

I thought of... (1)

nerdyalien (1182659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37985802)

Gordan Gekko from The Wallstreet............. Greed (to suck up) is good !!!

I won't believe it until (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37990968)

I see it use to suspend a man wearing a hard hat from a girder.

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