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Stanford University makes its own Gecko-inspired wall climbing pads

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
November 19, 2014
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Military types are obsessed with the Gecko because of the unique structure of its feet, which enable it to climb walls like Spider-man. Earlier this year, DARPA told the world that one of its labs had built a pair of pads that would enable a 218-pound person wearing 50 pounds of gear to pretend that they're Tobey Maguire. Of course, the method for building the pads was a closely guarded secret, but a team at Stanford University believes that it's cracked the formula. In essence (really paraphrasing here), the group started with PDMS -- polydimethylsiloxane -- a composite more commonly found in water-repellant coatings, skin moisturizers and at least one franchise burger joint's chicken nuggets. The substance was then molded into microwedges to increase the surface area, and crammed into a hexagonal plate with a handle. Testing is still underway, and as you can see in the video below, it's not the most exciting thing to see -- but we figure that millions of teenagers are currently adding this to their gift lists in the hope of making it easier to sneak in and out on a Friday night.

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