Gecko-Inspired Climbing Paddles Allow A Man To Climb A Glass Wall
DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), a US military agency is actively looking into a range of biomimicry applications to take its technologies to the next level. It’s latest product is a wall climbing device that allows its user to climb glass surfaces without any conventional climbing gear.
“In order to produce this impressive technology, DARPA first had to understand how geckos achieve their incredible climbing abilities. Geckos can climb on numerous different surfaces, even slippery surfaces like glass, thanks to microscopic ridges on their toes called setae. These structures are then decorated with hundreds of branching tips called spatulae which reach a maximum diameter of 200 nanometers.”
photo credit: DARPA
The military tends to be on the edge of research advancements for various reasons; first they have much bigger budgets than any public research agencies, secondly they have all the links with the government to access the resources needed to advance the projects and most importantly they need to be on the edge of advancement for strategic advantages and efficiency.
Military technology in the US is always a step ahead of commercial applications which also means that a lot of the technological research breakthrough are developed by the military first. Trends also show that many of the military technologies end up on the market place after some years which gives hope for seeing some biomimicry applications reaching society as a result in the years to come.
It is a significant step forward for the military to start looking into biomimicry and a good indication of the realization that this is the field from which future technological breakthrough will come from.
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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…