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Geckskin

We’ve mentioned these amazing developmental materials in the past that mimic the microscopic hairs on a Gecko’s feet called setae. They work like hook and pile tape without the pile. Now, researchers at the University of Massachusetts have made a breakthrough. In a press release, head researcher Alfred Crosby claims, “Our Geckskin device is about 16 inches square, about the size of an index card, and can hold a maximum force of about 700 pounds while adhering to a smooth surface such as glass.”

Researcher Al Crosby went on to say, “In order for something this large to use adhesion, its tendons are stitched right into its skin. And so you have the tendon, which is very stiff tissue, connected to the skin and the setae. That direct connection is critical. Without that, the gecko could not use adhesion. This direct integration is what we ended up mimicking in Geckskin.

There are two major issues with this type of technology. First, it has to able to be used over and over and second, it has to hold for long periods of time. In testing, Crosby claims they have done both. They just haven’t held items that are heavy (ie 100 + lbs) for months at a time. Their holy grail? Supporting a wall mounted flat screen for years.

Of course, these guys are looking at straight up adhesives. Whatever. How about a new way to carry magazines? As in, “just slap them against your chest and they won’t fall off.” Perhaps something as big as a SAW drum? Or maybe an infinitely reconfigurable armor carrier vest? Imagine being able to alter your set up on a whim, or better yet, how it rides on your body. No sewing necessary.

That’s what we hope this stuff can do; make gear better.

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13 Responses to “Geckskin”

  1. Chris says:

    I want this stuff on gloves and shoes. I could possibly climb buildings like Spider-man.

  2. ME says:

    Exactly! Not just gloves, but more of a gauntlet running all the way up to the elbow, as well as a boot that had the sole, inner calf and knee covered. You could climb anything!

  3. John M. Denny says:

    It would be interesting to see how this stuff works in the outdoors. Iwould imagine it needs to be clean to work.

  4. Doug E. Doug says:

    Came here to say “fuck everything they’re doing, I want to climb walls.” Glad I’m not the only one :)

  5. Vinny Vincent says:

    Yup… Wall climbing.

  6. squeak says:

    If somebody breaks into my house, I’ll be waiting for them… on the ceiling. I’ll come at them like a spider monkey; they’ll never know what hit ‘em.

  7. Chris says:

    This could be awesome for weapons grips, especially pistol grips. Even as a possible sling alternative, or weapons catch.

  8. BradTFA308 says:

    This is the ultimate WTF! Oh Yea. You’ve got me climbing the walls.

  9. Buckaroomedic says:

    If it can withstand 700lbs on glass, how does one remove it or move it around?

  10. SleepyDave says:

    Whats the smallest surface they’ve used? As in, at what point does the amount of “geckskin” used become too little to safely bear weight. Is there a compromise point that, say a 1×1″ square can hold so much weight, but a 2×2″ square can hold a certain amount more?

  11. Coolhand77 says:

    IIRC from the science of the gecko fingertips, the “roll off” motion shown in Ghost Protocal is actually how the gecko does it in nature. Staight pulling, it doesn’t budge, but rolling off the adheasion releases. They made it an electro mechanical thing in GP, but that was for movies. In reality, it shouldn’t have failed.
    Side of hands and forearms, you can climb, while things won’t stick to your palms.
    Sign me up for they spidey gloves!