Spiderman gets help from geckos' sticky secret

  • 8 November 2012
Spiderman could get help from a Gecko Image copyright Getty Images

We all know story. The secret to Peter Parker's sticky spidey-suit is all thanks to a radioactive spider, right? Well, perhaps not.

Geckos are the superheroes of the animal kingdom. They can run up walls, across ceilings and hang upside-down.

But the secret to their amazing skills has remained a mystery- until now.

Scientists in America have found that a gecko's foot is covered in millions of tiny hairs, split into hundreds of sticky microscopic tips.

Image copyright KELLAR AUTUMN

It's like having sticky tape on their feet.

"The way gecko adhesives work is so bizarre and so different that I don't think we would have invented it", said Professor Kellar Autumn.

It has about the same stickiness as sticky tape.

Scientists are hoping to use the same techniques as the gecko to develop the same type of sticky material that works in the same way.

The technology could be used on jacket zips and sealing food packages.

But could it allow humans to climb like Spider-Man?

Researchers suggest that the idea is not impossible.

"Selecting a lightweight person and applying the adhesive to many parts of the suit would improve the chances of success", explains Professor Pugno.

'We are not very far, in my opinion, from a kind of Spiderman suit."