Biologists have been observing the many toes of geckos and how they adapt mobility to diverse surfaces.
"The research helped answer a fundamental question: Why have many toes?" said Robert Full, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology.
The research suggested that climbing robots can be designed using gecko inspiration—in other words, robots with toes.
"Toes allowed agile locomotion by distributing control among multiple, compliant, redundant structures that mitigate the risks of moving on challenging terrain," Full said. "Distributed control shows how biological adhesion can be deployed more effectively and offers design ideas for new robot feet, novel grippers and unique manipulators."
Learn more about how geckos defy gravity:
Full adds that “gecko toes only stick in one direction. They grab when pulled in one direction, but release when peeled in the opposite direction. Yet, geckos move agilely in any orientation.”
These discoveries can spawn the development of toes for robots using new types of adhesives that utilize intermolecular forces, or van der Waals forces, and stick almost anywhere, including water.
Source: Science Daily