Latest research reveals why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls – even larger climbers would require unmanageably large sticky footpads. Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40% of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spider-Man, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives.
New research shows the fluid found on insects’ feet does not help them adhere to vertical and inverted surfaces, as previously thought, but may in fact help them to unstick their feet more easily to allow greater control over their sticking power.
Scientists have discovered that, when upright, stick insects don’t stick. Instead, they deploy special hairy pads designed to create huge amounts of friction from the tiniest of pressure increases - ensuring that the insects grip but don’t stick.