back to article Italian boffin designs gecko-tech spiderman suit

An Italian boffin claims to have made a breakthrough in the red-hot field of gecko-related nanoengineering, perhaps of a magnitude that might allow working spiderman suits to be built. Nicola Pugno's paper, Towards a Spiderman suit: large invisible cables and self-cleaning releasable super-adhesive materials will be published …


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  1. Ciaran Tracey


    “With the idea for the adhesion now in place, there are a number of other mechanics that need addressing before the Spiderman suit can become a reality ... man’s muscles, for example, are different to those of a gecko. We would suffer great muscle fatigue if we tried to stick to a wall for many hours."

    surely all you need is a crampon with the sticky stuff instead of front spikes - we're quite well adapted to standing for many hours....

  2. Nick Pettefar


    Was it the first of April by any chance?

    I've been hanging around for hours...

  3. Ralph B


    Hey, thanks a lot! Now I have Homer Simpson singing "Spider Pig" stuck in my head. Again.

  4. Martin Owens

    Marvellous Excuse

    Does anyone here the loud yelling of a nerd somewhere screaming at the screen that he told us spiderman physics was possible.

    I guess it also makes the whole 'sticking to walls' with tiny hairs in your hand more of a possibility although I'd like to see it to be honest.

  5. Nexox Enigma

    Dangers of suit wearing

    So what happens when you slap someone with this thing on? Or, gods forbid, what if someone decides to go for a wank?

    Now that is a matter for science!

  6. Julian

    Now youv'e got to stick to the suit

    It now seems relatively easy to stick gloves and shoes to a building - the problem remaining is sticking the person to the clothes. You are halfway up Megopolis' tallest building when you hear a ripping sound before plummeting to the earth dressed only in your undies and a few scraps of spidey suit.


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dangers...

    Obviously the geckos have evolved around the difficulty of getting the sticky to let go. I'm just waiting for the mad geneticists to tell us that we can have our palms gene massaged to be gecko sticky... Imagine the implications for professional ball sports.

  8. Hobbes

    RE: At Dangers

    The way they're playing at the moment I'm sure the English Rugby team, even with GeckoGloves (tm me) would still find a way to fumble the ball...

    Please note, as a fan of England I class this as affectionate mockery, rather than sledging from any of our colonial chums...

  9. Doc Farmer

    Yes, But Will Insurance Agents Wear Them?

    We have enough of them sticking around or hanging around as it is (UK readers should check out a certain American insurance company to get the joke).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best application is that of... window cleaners?

    Did he really say this:

    for window cleaners of big skyscrapers

    Um, out of all of the amazing applications that were running through my head, I can honestly say window cleaners was at the bottom of the list.

    Also do they have a way to release whatever you are stuck to when you want?

    And just for the Spider Pig fans...

    "...Can he swing from a web? No he can't, he's a pig..."

  11. Scott Swarthout

    If, and when

    If, or when, the sticky can let go at will, and only at will... SIGN ME UP!

    If they put the nano-hairs on the back of the suit, across or just above the shoulders, one could just "hang about" on the side of a building, with no fatigue.

  12. Alan Potter

    Hairy palms?

    @Nexos Enigma

    I thought going for a wank was the cause of hairy palms. Does that mean that all we have to do is masturbate and then we´ll be up the Empire State Building in seconds?

    Mind you, I wouldn´t want to try that if I was also blind...

  13. myxiplx

    Great, who's working on super strong walls?

    It's all well & good having a suit that can stick to stuff, but has anyone given any thought to what you could actually climb? What works for a gecko won't necessarily work for us: I doubt that the surface of any building will support the full weight of a human being.

    Brick? You've got to be kidding, the edge will just crumble away. Sure, you're still stuck to it, but that's not going to be much comfort as you plummet to the ground.

    Glass? Might want to call the paramedics before you try this one...

    Steel? Great in theory, but just how much do you trust the grip of that waterproofing paint?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Scientist competition - Xmas '05

    "IF I could modify my body in any way, I would glue monkeys to my hands and feet, then glue geckos to their hands and feet. Then I could climb up anything.

    Robbie Somerville, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, UK"

    Always thought that was genius.

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