Literally Climbing The Walls

NY Times: Geckos, lizards that are notorious for their sticky feet, can run up walls and across ceilings, and hang tauntingly by one toe. They have no suction cups, hooks or glue on their feet, so how do they do it? Five years ago, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; and Lewis and Clark College found the secret: 500,000 minute hairs cover the sole of each foot, and the tip of each hair splits into hundreds more. The hairs are so elastic that they can bend or squish to conform to microscopic nooks and crannies under the creature’s feet, even on the glass walls of an aquarium. [….] In a recent issue of the journal Chemical Communications, the team reported that it had indeed produced synthetic hairs, with 200 times the sticking power of the ones made by nature. [….] The synthetic hairs – one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair – are made of highly flexible carbon cylinders, or nanotubes, embedded in a plastic base like bristles in a hairbrush.