Design Principles and Strategies for Biomimetic, Gecko-like Ambulation

Vertical Tabs

The gecko has many levels of structural hierarchy, from the macro-scale feet and toes to anisotropic micro- and nano-scale fibers (setae and spatulae) arranged in millimeter-scale arrays (lamellae). Each hierarchical level works synergistically to produce high adhesion and friction. Our project focuses on recreating this hierarchical functionality with synthetically created structures and materials. Elastomeric fibrillar materials developed in our lab show excellent directional/anisotropic friction and adhesion properties against smooth and rough surfaces. Continued development and integration of these adhesives will allow robotic systems to climb and traverse vertical and inverted surfaces at high speeds, in an energy efficient manner, in a variety of environments, and for extended periods of time (durability over thousands of adhesion-peel cycles).

Vertical Tabs

There are numerous properties of the gecko adhesive system which render it of extreme interest to the engineering community, particularly for application in climbing robotics. These properties include highly anisotropic adhesion and shear forces for controllable attachment, a high adhesion to initial preload force ratio, lack of inter-fiber self-adhesion, and operation over more than 30,000 adhesion-peel cycles without loss of adhesion performance. If harnessed, these properties will facilitate high speed, high stability, and energy efficient traversing of vertical and inverted surfaces by robots, with low maintenance operation in a variety of environments.



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