US engineers have developed a robotic gecko that - like the reptile - uses dry, adhesive feet to climb walls.
Dubbed 'Stickybot', the robot was described as having feet the "size of a child's hand" with 20-micrometre-wide hairs that attract molecules of the climbing surface using van der Waals forces.
Molecular interaction between the hairs and walls allowed the hairs to act as a dry, one-way adhesive that allows Stickybot to climb wood panelling, painted metal and glass.
The team, which was led by Stanford University professor Mark Cutkosky, planned to scale up the adhesive material and is building a technology called "Z-man" to allow humans to climb with gecko adhesive.
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