Gecko feet have been a poster-child for Biomimicry but now there’s more…

When walking naturally with hyperextension, geckos shed dirt from their toes twice as fast as they would if walking without hyperextension, returning their feet to nearly 80 per cent of their original stickiness in only four steps. Our dynamic model predicts that when setae suddenly release from the attached substrate, they generate enough inertial force to dislodge dirt particles from the attached spatulae. The predicted cleaning force on dirt particles significantly increases when the dynamic effect is included. The extraordinary design of gecko toe pads perfectly combines dynamic self-cleaning with repeated attachment/detachment, making gecko feet sticky yet clean. This work thus provides a new mechanism to be considered for biomimetic design of highly reuseable and reliable dry adhesives and devices.

Continued at University of Akron News.

Original Paper at the Journal of The Royal Society.