Roughly a year ago, scientists figured out how to reproduce
the effect which allows geckos to walk up vertical
The full technical details aren't truly important, but what
is important is that the force holding the new material
(called Geckskin) towards the wall is some large number
times the force you are pulling the material parallel to the
So if you pull straight outwards, it comes off, but if you
pull at an angle, it holds absurdly strongly.
This idea is to use Geckskin, and make it into a cell phone
holder, suitable for any phone, no matter what shape,
which can attach to any hard surface.
The heart of this phone holder is that of a fist-sized elastic
balloon, covered with Geckskin, and filled with some sort
of lightweight granular material, such as ground coffee.
Where the neck of the balloon would be, is a small plastic
block, with a pair of USB ports, an A type and a micro-B
type, one to consume power, one to pass power on to the
There's also a momentary 'on' switch; pushing it activates the tiny electric air pump inside the block, which removes
air from the balloon. Reduction of pressure in the balloon
together with atmospheric pressure outside of the balloon
causes the granules inside to squeeze together, which
makes the balloon stiff and rigid.
A push button release valve allows air back into the
balloon, rendering it flexible once more.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, that means that you've
heard of a 'Universal Gripper'.
But since our gripper has Gecktape on the outside, it
should be able to adhere to surfaces larger than itself.