A new iPhone cover is using a special material that allows the device to be attached to smooth surfaces in a similar way to that used by gecko when climbing walls.
Lizards are amazing animals. A five once lizard produces an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall without slipping. For years scientist where baffled by this unique ability, however in recent years material scientists were able to imitate the astonishing natural adhesive force of lizards using to attach and climb on walls.
In 2008 Researchers from Berkeley University developed a special gecko-inspired synthetic adhesive tape with unique properties. Unlike conventional adhesive tape, this new tape does not stick when pressed onto a surface, but rather when it is slid over a surface. The tape was inspired by a similar directional adhesion effect that allows geckos to run up walls rapidly, constantly attaching and detaching their toes to and from the wall’s surface.
Earlier this year a different team of polymer scientists and a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst invented "Geckskin" a device that can hold 700 pounds on a smooth wall based on over 20 years of research on how lizards climbing and clinging abilities work in nature.
Although none of these metirials were used in the new iPhone cover, its clear that the technology can already mimic nature to a very high degree. At present the Uguard iPhone cover can only offer a short sticking time on flat surfaces. The resin material the cover is made out of can hold the whight of the iPhone for a short while after which the user should better catch it, otherwise it will fall down. We can only hope to see future devices using the new advanced materials such as the ones developed at Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts.
In the following short promotional video clip you can see the iPhone "Gecko Skin" in action attached to different flat surfaces.
Besides offering adhesive capabilities, the resin used in the uguard cover also offers what is described as superior scratch protection, comfortable touch & feel with improved grip and a durable anti-UV protection.
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.
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