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Secrets of the gecko foot help robot climb

A Stanford mechanical engineer is using the biology of a gecko’s sticky foot to create a robot that climbs. In the same way the small reptile can scale a wall of slick glass, the Stickybot can climb smooth surfaces with feet modeled on the intricate design of gecko toes.

If you watch the video, you might notice that they appear to have edited out a section discussing the need for a tail — the only kept the part when they added the tail and tell us the “now stickybot can climb.” It’s too bad, because I think there’s a bit of interesting physics there. It’s mentioned briefly in this video, where you can see a real gecko with its tail pressing against a surface, the hind legs acting as a fulcrum, so that it can move its upper body back toward the surface.