Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Gecko Bandage is Super Sticky, Waterproof

tidbits that tantalizeThe Amazing Gecko Grip...
(Photo / David Clements, via Wikimedia)

Seems we may have underestimated the little guy. After all, it was quite a big deal for a gecko to start a car insurance company in the first place. Everyone assumed that was the end of it. Thought he'd be content to be a huge success, staring in his own commercials for Geico, sharing his rambling assessments of life and cars. But, we were wrong.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have teamed with the gecko to create a super-sticky, super-strong, super-flexible, super bandage. Yes, indeed - it's super.

The bandage is inspired by the gecko's feet, which have amazing gripping capabilities. The secret appears to be in the tiny hills and valleys found on the gecko's feet. These ridges allow the gecko to easily traverse smooth, vertical surfaces, including glass.

Inspired by the gecko, the MIT team created an adhesive with nanoscale hills and valleys. This addressed, as have other similar adhesives, the need to adhere to dry surfaces. But the MIT team took it to the next level. They wanted to develop an adhesive that would be effective when wet. This would be a huge advantage, as it would allow it to be used in surgical applications, especially to help supplement internal sutures and staples.

The final step? Sugar, of course. Well, a thin layer of sugar-based glue. The final layer allows the bandage to adhere to wet surfaces, making it perfect for surgery. And, the material is biodegradable. Surgeons can apply the bandage to an internal organ or vessel, then simply close up and walk away. Over time the bandage, which is also non-inflammatory, will simply dissolve.

Remarkable - even for a gecko.

To read more about the new adhesive, see this from Reuters. To learn more about the inspirational gecko, see this from Wikipedia.


Post a Comment

<< Home