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Science Watch: Reusable Gecko Tape and Bone Networks

Science Watch: Reusable Gecko Tape and Bone Networks

Gecko Skeleton

By Evan Ackerman

Gecko TapeGecko Tape- As we’ve pointed out before, geckos are masters of stick, thanks to their nanotubey toes. Using carbon nanotubes with a flexible polymer backing, researchers at the University of Akron have created their own gecko toe tape. This tape has been demonstrated, for the first time, to actually be more effective than gecko feet (up to four times more effective) at sticking to things, and is able to be repeatedly peeled off and reused. Not only is it much stronger than conventional tape, it’s electrically conductive, reusable, and doesn’t leave any gunky residue.

Bone NetworkBone Conduction Networking- As an alternative to Bluetooth or other methods of wireless (or wired) communication, bone conduction is a real possibility. It may be slow in terms of data transmission, but it’s low power, secure, and reliable. It would be ideal for “body area networks,” which might include stuff like a cell phone, MP3 player, and headset. Implanted devices could obviously make good use of bone conduction control, but if that makes you queasy, wearing an acoustic generator (in the form of an armband) works just as well. Rice University bioengineers have some suggestions as to how this stuff would work, such as clacking your teeth to trigger your cell phone to answer a call.

Carbon Nanotube-Based Synthetic Gecko Tapes
OsteoConduct: Wireless Body-Area Communication based on Bone Conduction (PDF)