Monday, November 08, 2004

You will believe a spider can, uh, stick

Team India News Network reports that scientists in Stuttgart, Germany, may have figured out how Spider-Man can scale a building with such ease. Researchers studied animals such as lizards and insects in hopes of creating new ways of designing artificial surfaces that stick to walls better than anything found in nature:
According to the study, which has been published in the journal Royal Society A1, researchers found that a completely even surface, flat contacts perform best because they maximise the amount of surface contact. However only grasshoppers have relatively flat pads.

The researchers recommend that engineers seeking to design artificial coatings should investigate doughnut-type shapes. To increase the stickiness, you need to split the contact elements into tinier and tinier shapes, and their model showed that toroidal contacts are the most efficient contacts on the smallest scales.
Eh, boring. What everyone really wants to know is, which is better, mechanical webshooters or organic ones?