Sunday, 11 July 2010
Scientists seek inspiration from gecko feet design for tiny robots
These feet are made for walking on all kinds of surfaces. Image courtesy of Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikipedia.
Gecko feet are so well designed that they are able to walk on almost all kinds of surfaces without slipping, even upside down on ceilings. The feet of these little lizards are covered with tiny hair-like structures called setae. (There are 14,000 setae per square millimetre), and they make use of weak van der Waals forces to keep their feet firmly on any surface.
A research team made up of American and South Korean scientists is trying to use the gecko feet design as a model to build a tiny robot that could walk up on all kinds of surfaces.
Once again, scientists seek to model their gadgets on what they see in nature. Unfortunately, they often assume that the ingenious solutions found in nature are the result of random processes.
In real life design always requires a designer and information always requires a sender.
Reproducing nanoscale surfaces with adhesion properties similar to gecko footpad. Physorg. com 29 June 2010.