Ten innovations inspired by nature

Publication:   Date: October 20, 2008   View Article

From gecko-inspired sticky tapes to shark-skin inspired swimsuits, nature has proven an effective muse for today’s innovators. Here are ten examples.

Animal Photos Weekly: Tiny Toad, Red Panda Cubs, More

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 9, 2008   View Article

Captions for photos of animals in the news. Shots include a surfing pooch, a tiny Kihansi spray toad, a New Caledonian crested gecko, red panda cubs, and a green polar bear.

Where Elephants Tread, Geckos Thrive, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 1, 2008   View Article

As elephants bash and browse through the trees of the African savanna, they create nooks and crannies for little geckos to hide from predators and the hot sun, according to a new study.

The research shows that the population of Kenya dwarf geckos increases proportionally with the number of trees with limbs snapped, trunks split, bark stripped, and branches fallen in the wake of an elephant run-in.

Mussels’ Mighty Grip Inspires Dopamine-Based Glue

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 18, 2007   View Article

The uncanny stickiness of mussels has inspired a brainy new approach to creating a universal adhesive coating, researchers say.

Mussels secrete a complex cocktail of proteins to latch on to just about any surface, explained study co-author Phillip Messersmith, a biomedical engineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Gecko, Mussel Powers Combined in New Sticky Adhesive

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 18, 2007   View Article

Give your tape some real “mussel”!

So might go the ad campaign for “geckel”—a next-generation adhesive inspired by the legendary stickiness of geckos and mollusks—if the product is successfully brought to market.

Will “Gecko Tape” Let Humans Climb Walls?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 2, 2003   View Article

Humans may someday be able to scuttle up walls, scamper across ceilings, and scurry out windows with the agility of a startled gecko in the tropical night—thanks to a new adhesive tape that mimics the lizard’s sticky feet.

“Geckoman is less than science fiction these days,” said Andre Geim, a physicist at the University of Manchester, England, who is part of a team that overcame considerable engineering challenges to produce the first synthetic “gecko tape.”

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach