The prospect of being able to emulate a gecko and walk up a wall and across the ceiling has come a step closer to reality. Scientists in California have begun to work out how to make a material coated with synthetic gecko hairs. If engineers could create a material that matches the nimble lizard’s incredible grip, the applications would be endless.



We could make super-grip shoes for athletes and tyres that hold the road better in all weathers, for example. And in Hollywood, actors playing superheroes like Spiderman or Neo from The Matrix could climb walls and walk on the ceiling without the studios resorting to computer graphics.



The hairs on a gecko’s feet – called setae – are the key to its remarkable grip on just about any surface, rough or smooth, wet or dry. The tips of the setae are so sticky that geckos can hang from a ceiling with their entire weight suspended from a single toe.

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