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Gecko-Footed Robot Fit for Outer Space (article)
Institute for Creation Research ^ | 1-20-14 | Brian Thomas

Posted on 01/21/2014 8:13:39 AM PST by fishtank

Gecko-Footed Robot Fit for Outer Space by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Abigaille the robot can climb up smooth walls, but she leaves behind no residue, much like living geckos. Engineers at Simon Fraser University copied gecko design when they developed the robot’s tiny treads to navigate tight turns even while treading on vertical walls. How close did the inventors come to matching the precision capabilities of real gecko feet, which utilize a dry adhesive capability?

Dry adhesives could be very useful. In a 2011 technical report appearing in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, the design team described the locomotive part of the robot. They cited its potential use in “space, security, surveillance and nuclear reactor cleaning.”1 At its core is a “timing belt climbing platform”—a track belt layered with fine fibers, each one with a small, mushroom-shaped cap on its end.1

Gecko foot pads have thousands of tiny fibers, too, but theirs are much smaller than anything humans can construct. The fibers interact with the reptiles’ walking surfaces. Manufacturing limitations make Abigaille’s foot fibers much larger than the lizard’s, requiring more surface area for the robot’s footpad to hold the same weight. Real geckos can stick to a ceiling with just a single foot while this robot needs full treads to cling to a wall.

Now, two years later, researchers have tested an updated version dubbed “Abigaille-III,” reporting their results in the Journal of Bionic Engineering and demonstrating the new robot’s potential for use in space.2 Abigaille-III uses the same fibers as the original robot, but this hexapod version has six legs, with separate treads on each. It may someday “be used for everything from cleaning high rises to servicing satellites and even planetary exploration,” according to Simon Fraser University News.3

Michael Henery, lead author of the 2014 report, told Discovery News, “We’ve borrowed techniques from the micro-electronics industry to make our footpad terminators. Technical limitations mean these are around 100 times larger than a gecko’s hairs, but they are sufficient to support our robot’s weight.”4

If intelligent human engineers deserve credit for this amazing gizmo, how much more credit belongs to the One who engineered the superior biological machine they are so diligently trying to copy?


Krahn, J. et al. 2011. A tailless timing belt climbing platform utilizing dry adhesives with mushroom caps. Smart Materials and Structures. 20 (11): 110521.

Henrey, M. et al. 2014. Abigaille-III: A Versatile, Bioinspired Hexapod for Scaling Smooth Vertical Surfaces. Journal of Bionic Engineering. 11 (1): 1-17.

Meadahl, M. Robot’s sticky feet could aid space missions. Simon Fraser University News. Posted on January 3, 2014, accessed January 9, 2014.

Agence France-Presse. Wall-Climbing, Gecko Robot Could Scuttle in Space. Discovery News. Posted on January 2, 2014, accessed January 9, 2014.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research

Article posted on January 20, 2014

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: creation; robot

My question is this: When will 'inventors' start paying patent royalties to God for bio-mimetic innovations?

Yes, yes, yes, I realize it's a silly rhetorical question, but the arrogance of the materialist-evolutionary community requires a few snarky retorts by those of us who know that there is a Creator.

1 posted on 01/21/2014 8:13:40 AM PST by fishtank
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To: fishtank

You know they still cant put evolution and how our brain works together yet. Its an anomaly they we are smart since the top tier of the ocean, Sharks, have very small brains and intelligence does not evolve to the top of the food chain.

2 posted on 01/21/2014 8:27:29 AM PST by Baseballguy (pharaphase (If someone does not believe in heaven or hell - they should not care where they go))
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To: fishtank
I hear they will save a ton of money on their robot insurance.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

3 posted on 01/21/2014 8:50:54 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: Baseballguy
"...since the top tier of the ocean, Sharks, have very small brains and intelligence does not evolve to the top of the food chain..."

Dolphins have big, smart mammal brains, and have been known to attack and fend off sharks. ORCAs (killer whales) also have big, smart mammal brains, and not a lot of sharks get to eat them.

Sharks are certainly well adapted, efficient killing and eating machines, no question there, but as for being at the top of the food chain without challenge from "bigger brained" animals, there is considerable room for argument.
4 posted on 01/21/2014 9:03:17 AM PST by Rebel_Ace (Tags?!? Tags?!? We don' neeeed no stinkin' Tags!)
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To: LonePalm

If the gecko breaks down, is that a reptile dysfunction?

5 posted on 01/21/2014 9:24:59 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek


6 posted on 01/21/2014 10:09:13 AM PST by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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