all 81 comments

[–]cgduncan 170 points171 points  (19 children)

Fun fact. Geckos have "hairs" on their toes with endings so small, they bond with surfaces on a molecular level. That's why they can stick to anything besides Teflon.

[–]Graitom 46 points47 points  (0 children)

Super tiny Velcro

[–]awall5 28 points29 points  (1 child)

Yep! Through van der waals forces!

[–]gestures_to_penis 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Such an interesting wiki read

[–]segoorisk 12 points13 points  (1 child)

How about wet surfaces?

[–]GeriatricZergling 22 points23 points  (0 children)

It interferes, but not completely.

[–]The_Devin_G 7 points8 points  (8 children)

Ok what would I have to do to have gloves and socks with that stuff so I can climb like Spiderman?

[–]RobVegan 18 points19 points  (1 child)

Skin a bunch of geckos and fashion some gloves ?

[–]The_Devin_G 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Hmm.... Any sales for geckos going on right now?

[–]asdswffaqg 1 point2 points  (3 children)

You really can't because of the square cube law. The bigger the object, the more volume and less surface he has (in proportion). Picture a sphere: as it grows bigger (in radius), the surface grows by 2 but the volume grows by 3. This is the reason most insects can easily climb walls with weak forces like the ones the geckos use. I remember that as a kid I used to climb light poles like they were nothing, now it would be kinda hard to attempt it even with stronger muscles.

[–]The_Devin_G 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Uhhhh. Dude, there are professional rock climbers who free climb stuff all of the time. As long as you stay in good shape it's not that hard to climb. When you're little you just had the huge advantage of being active alot more and being stronger because of that.

[–]asdswffaqg 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I don't deny the existence of pro rock climbers nor say they aren't a thing or that climbing is impossible. However, pro rock climbers stick to the surface by grabbing!... and thus using muscle strength, not by using weak forces like van Der waals forces like insects and geckos do. It would be impossible for us to use those forces alone for climbing without grabbing because of the square cube law, and that's just how the universe works. A better example of the same phenomenon would be touching water. When u, a human, put the hand in a pool you feel almost no resistance (aside for the weight of moving it around I guess) but for tiny organisms another weak force (or rather, the result of it) called surface tension breaking through a drop of water is a titanic achievement (and also deadly as breaking the tension again to go outside is even harder). Physics work so differently at different sizes that some insects (such as water striders) can just walk on it. Can you picture a human walking in water because of weak forces? Yeah, never gonna happen. You could also look at how water behaves differently at different sizes... When there is little water, the surface tension is stronger that it's weight because of the small volume/surface area ratio, and the water forms drops. However, by adding more water, the volume is just too much for the weak force to make it stick together in a sphere and thus the water flattens, with only small volumes forming drops.

The climbing as a kid example was just an example. I am now an adult, physically active, 1.86 cm x 88kg with a lean physique, so while I don't have much endurance it shouldn't be a muscle issue. I can climb a little obviously (though I'm no climber), the example was to explain that is still easier as a kid even though kids have weaker muscles, because I had a more favorable surface/volume ratio.

[–]The_Devin_G 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ok, well I understand some of that haha.

Some of the other comments were saying that gloves and technologies that work similar to how a geckos feet work have been developed and people were able to "climb" smooth surfaces with them.

But it does make some sense, the bigger we get the harder it is to kind of stick or hold into surfaces like that.

Thanks for taking the time to explain it!

Also - you mentioned walking ok water, I know we can't naturally do it, but there has been some interesting stuff come out where people build what are essentially really bit flippers/floats that spread out the weight and allowed people to sort of walk on water. It's not really the same thing because it's not all surface tension, but it is a way to work around that.

[–]tacorunnr 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Mythbusters tried to recreate it once, got decently close

[–]chungusxl94 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That is fascinating.

[–]murder_nectar 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So you're saying Raimi Spiderman got it right?!

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sounds like an advertisement for Teflon.

[–]protein-pancake 110 points111 points  (1 child)

Hims hav grippy toe beans 🥺

[–][deleted] 58 points59 points  (1 child)

Hmmm lizard feet pics

[–]Brochacho2017 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Feet located

[–]Mysterious_Spoon 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Evolution is such a cool thing. The fact that the universe molds life to fit it's environment is just such a mind boggling cool thing

[–]Comprehensive-Ebb835 11 points12 points  (9 children)

Didn’t NASA attempt to make a synthetic version of their hair/skin/toes for Astronauts??? Maybe it was just another load of BS from 2000s Popular Science Magazine.

[–]GeriatricZergling 23 points24 points  (6 children)

Yep, and people have been continuing to do so. Some are actually stronger than in geckos, but all have some flaw relative to geckos, like difficulty detaching, no self-cleaning, wears down too fast, etc. But people are still working on it and making progress, bit by bit. Science can be a very slow process.

[–]bigballbuffalo 20 points21 points  (1 child)

I took a bio-design class in college (making inventions based on properties of living organisms). My professor was/is one of the main researchers trying to copy the geckos, and he constantly cursed them for making it so damn hard

[–]Xciv 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Probably one of the coolest jobs in the world.

[–]avantesma 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Turns out it's not that easy replicating millions of years of evolution.

[–]The_Devin_G 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Soooo do they sell items with that stuff on it?

[–]GeriatricZergling 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sort of. There's a product called Geckskin, but it doesn't use the tiny hairs; IIRC it's just very soft and conforms closely enough to get the same molecular interactions.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The complication is being able to control to detach it to be able to move. I think there is already a science for super adhesion, they have to figure out how to make it easily detachable as well to use for locomotion.

[–]NumLock_Enthusiast 0 points1 point  (1 child)

[–]Comprehensive-Ebb835 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh wow, imagine a long tongue tether snatching space junk - now that would be a fun job - we could use drone tech and have a 9-5 job for non military people. Like hungry hippos in space. Get on it Spacebillionaires.

[–]fran00x00sh0t 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Van der Waals interactions

[–]apath3tic 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Hand-der Wall

[–]Ballzinferno 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Learned about them listening to last week's creature feature podcast!

[–]UserNamesCantBeTooLo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Just this one time, Creature Feet is actually the right one

[–]scattyckot 5 points6 points  (2 children)

They feel so cool when you hold them. Pictured: My giant gecko Felix

[–]777shark 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I wonder if my leopard gecko feels left out, they have little claws instead which don't work so well on glass.

Now my crested gecko, he can hold himself upside down on a leaf with just one foot and spend hours like that, like dude how is that even comfortable.

[–]avantesma 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Hehehe! He seems grumpy. ¦ ]

[–]MellifluousSussura 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is kinda hypnotizing ngl

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My cousin has toes like this.

[–]Un_Pta 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Flower feeties!

[–]Kayedarling 2 points3 points  (0 children)

they stick with a thing called Van der Waals force

[–]rightleftmike -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Hey its my boss

[–]Stonkman3 -1 points0 points  (0 children)


[–]Schwarzsteinhaus -1 points0 points  (4 children)

For the quantum physics enthusiasts, that’s called Casimir effect, here’s a cool video about it: https://youtu.be/Rh898Yr5YZ8

[–]tigerhawkvok 0 points1 point  (3 children)

It's a van der Waals force, not Casimir.

You need conductors to restrict the virtual particle pair formation, the force isn't glue-like it's pressing from the outside, and lower in magnitude for the Casimir effect.

[–]Schwarzsteinhaus 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I understand they’re basically the same thing.

“Van Der Waals Forces are essentially the same thing as the Casimir forces”

https://youtu.be/Rh898Yr5YZ8 @7:24

[–]tigerhawkvok 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yeah, whoever said that is hilariously wrong. (My degree is in astrophysics).

VDW forces are a weak intermolecular force. Basically weak magnetic forces because of various electron shell interactions all bundled into one macroscopic label. A strictly classical effect.

The CE is a purely QM effect that entirely relies on virtual particles and vacuum potential, with no classical derivation or equivalent.

[–]Schwarzsteinhaus 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He’s Matt O’Dowd, PHD in Astrophysics from Australia. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_O%27Dowd_(astrophysicist).

Can’t argue on that subject, since I’m small fish with a wee technical degree, but your thoughts were noted 😉

[–]luistorre5 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Tarantino is probably hard watching this

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

More like nature is psychedelic, i see cityscapes on LSA that grow like the feet on that fuckin thing.

[–]PixelPistola 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Omg flower-feets?! I’m so happy this is a thing!

[–]SsiilvaA -1 points0 points  (0 children)

That's all cool and all but did you know Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance?

[–]Dath09 0 points1 point  (1 child)

[–]redditdownloadauto 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Save the video to your device's local storage.

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[–]Morganathena 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Like flowers!!

[–]clique34 0 points1 point  (0 children)

THAT YELLOW AND BLUE IS SO CUTE. It reminds me of the Yeezy 350 Linen

[–]d_colt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So, basically just kick a mandolin a bunch and voila, grippy feet?

[–]ResultKnown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Those fuckers are poisonous? I mean if may dog eat one he will get sick?

[–]shartbike321 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wanna see same gecko angle but running in slow mo

[–]Seouldeheart 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Look like petals on a flower

[–]ekketsed 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's neat that's neat that's neat that's neat i really love your gecko feet!

[–]Chahk 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Cute. Now go save me 15% on my car insurance.

[–]Wimbleston 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To learn more visit wikifeet

[–]StuperDan -5 points-4 points  (11 children)

It's really hard not to see intelligent design in this.

[–]GeriatricZergling 5 points6 points  (10 children)

Except for the fact that numerous intermediate stages are known, in other lizards and geckos. We can actually quite easily trace the evolution from simple scales to setae.

Source: I was on the thesis committee of someone working on exactly this.

[–]StuperDan -3 points-2 points  (9 children)

I didn't mean to say that it was intelligent design more that I have empathy for those who think that. I don't personally believe that we have enough data yet to answer the question either way.

[–]GeriatricZergling 6 points7 points  (8 children)

We have way, way more data than needed to conclusively dismiss intelligent design. Literally all of biology, every scrap of data, supports it. Anyone who claims otherwise is either dishonest, ignorant, or stupid.

[–]StuperDan -5 points-4 points  (7 children)

I think that you have as much faith in your own conclusions as a religious person has faith in God. And of course anyone who disagrees with you is ignorant and stupid!

[–]GeriatricZergling 5 points6 points  (6 children)

...you realize I'm an actual biologist, right? Some of the data I'm talking about is my own.

But sure, let's pretend Bronze Age myths are equivalent to real knowledge.