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Gecko Foot Leather

Sticks to everything.
  (+3, -7)
(+3, -7)
  [vote for,

A while ago I was reading about research on making a material that imitates the way gecko feet can stick to literally anything known to man with the exception of Teflon.

The whole time I was wondering why not just farm geckos for their` feet? So I suggest doing just that. The tanned gecko feet could be stitched back together and be used as a powerful adhesive for anything from climbing gloves to tires.

And why no material category?

van der Waals force http://en.wikipedia...Van_der_Waals_force
There may also be a single layer of water molecules involved. [infidel, Oct 15 2010]


       //tanned// may be a problem there.
FlyingToaster, Oct 13 2010

       Do dead geckos still stick to walls?
Boomershine, Oct 13 2010

       Depends how hard you chuck'em I would think.   

       gekkos need wet feet to climb walls.
Voice, Oct 13 2010

       you know, this just might actually work. From what I understand about the way gecko feet work, the actual living of the gecko isn't necessary. There are just certain structures on the feet that make it stick to everything. It's all passive. Unsticking just involves tilting the foot. I don't know of any reason, if the feet are prevented from rotting, why they wouldn't continue to have their "sticky" property.   

       And as a matter of fact, gecko-foot-like materials have been made. You can find some videos of robots on youtube that aren't very impressive, but I remember seeing on TV this guy had made some of the material and they hung a woman from the glass walls of a building using just a 6" x 6" pad (she was in a belt connected to the pad). I remember even watching a woman scale a skyscraper (not very high though) using gloves with this material. It can handle a lot of weight, but can come off so easily.
EdwinBakery, Oct 13 2010

       Gecko feet rely upon van der Waals force to stick. I'm not sure the skin would survive the necessary processes involved in curing/tanning to be useful afterwards. [FT] nailed it, as far as I can tell.
infidel, Oct 13 2010

       From both an animal welfare perspective, and a functional perspective, it would surely be far more effective to leave the geckos alive. All that is required is some sort of harness/glove combo.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 13 2010

       It's almost stupid to think this would work.
daseva, Oct 13 2010

       How vary kind kind of you to say so, daseva.   

       Gecko feet are not wet, they stick to surfaces using vary tiny feather like structures. Being hair like my guess is they should be able to withstand the weak acids involved in (at least traditional) tanning. They should also be able to withstand some minor jostling and rubbing about as while the gecko is alive they get scampered on all day.   

       I don't know much about tanning, but I don't see why the process would necessarily wreck the feet. Hair can survive the more major process of mummification after all, can't it?   

       1 //there feet// should be: "their feet". 2 I don't like animals treated like a factory product, so this earns two bones from me. (I get double votes every so often)
xenzag, Oct 13 2010

       technically they're called "bonus votes".
FlyingToaster, Oct 13 2010

       The employment of an army of geckos, each with miniature dogsled or carrying harnesses, seems the ultimate solution. Perhaps Clarke Clement Moore's protagonist mistook reindeer for amphibians. Hmmm... 'Now Slinker, now Winker...'   

       "Gordy, the green-backed Gekko, had a very shiny suit..."
RayfordSteele, Oct 14 2010

       //From both an animal welfare perspective, and a functional perspective, it would surely be far more effective to leave the geckos alive.//   

       Also from the gecko's perspective.
Boomershine, Oct 14 2010

       It occurs that a single gecko really isn't using all the area under his body--his feet are only so big. Which implies that ersatz gecko material could hold up more than a gecko's weight for a given gecko's area.   

       It also occurs that gecko feet aren't really adapted to man-made materials, and may not be the best design. A good starting point, sure, but some tweaking may be helpful. (I saw a gecko fall off a plastic light fixture once.)   

       It also occurs to wonder what geckos needed their clingy little feet for before humans built houses. Walking on leaves? Cliffs? Caves?
baconbrain, Oct 14 2010

       You just need to breed two strains of geckos. One that has higher legs and a body that is somewhat handle shaped, and the other with a rigid tail that sticks straight up.   

       Then you hold one of each of the first two in per hand, and strap the tail of a pair of the second to each shoe, then away you go.   

       More seriously though, I suspect tanning would damage the fine tips of the gecko hide, and that a living organism is needed to repair damage/wear to the tips over time.
MechE, Oct 14 2010

       This reminds me of a story I once heard about a Chinese emperor who tethered several geese to his throne in an attempt to fly. The story ended with the geese scattering in every direction and the emperor becoming a paraplegic. The live geckos would end up doing the same.   

       Also, while I'm sure the feet of several geckos would hold a person up I doubt their limbs could.   

       Even if the feet need to be alive to function indefinitely the gloves could work for a while before they began losing the stickiness.   

       *Ahem* - See [link] on van der Waals force. It's how geckos hang out the way they do.
infidel, Oct 15 2010

       But it's not really fashion, it's more like a utility/recreation material. Like Teflon*. I suppose one could make Teflon jewelery, but that's another post for another time.   

       * Acknowledgement that Teflon is a copyright.   


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