The researchers at Stanford University have created a new fabric which has been tested successfully on a small robot that can scale smooth surfaces such as glass and metal. The creation of the new fabric was inspired by Gecko lizards, which have the ability to defy gravity due to microscopic hairs on their toes.
Researchers created a rubber-like material covered with thousands of tiny polymer fibres to imitate the gecko's hairs. These hairs, which are called setae, are ten times thinner than a human hair and leaves no residue or damage.
Scientists are now on the way to make a version of the material that would allow humans to climb with gecko adhesive. If it marks success, it will allow someone to hang and support their whole weight.
The research was funded by the US Department of Defense's advanced research projects programme.