Keep your eye on the shelves of your local hardware store, where you may be able to find new tape from an unlikely source: the gecko, reports The New York Times.
Geckos have millions of microscopic hairs on their toes, each with hundreds of tips that adhere to surfaces, with no residue left behind,â€ said Kellar Autumn, a biology professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. â€œTheir hairs can stay attached indefinitely.â€
Autumn and scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, were responsible for the research that enabled Mark Cutkosky, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, to develop a prototype for a tape based on gecko adhesion. The tape, which is reusable, was so strong, Autumn said, that when they tested it, he was able to stick his 50-pound, 8-year-old daughter to a window with it.
That was a little more than two years ago; there are now at least 50 patent applications pending in gecko-adhesion technology, Autumn said, and he holds several patents himself.
â€œImagine hanging a picture on the wall with reusable gecko tape that doesnâ€™t leave a residue or damage the wall â€” itâ€™s like a thumbtack, but doesnâ€™t leave a hole,â€ he said. â€œThe technology is ready to move from research to development. I think we are no more than three to five years from the first commercial products.â€
Photo by stuffwelike.com.