Gecko Toes Inspire New Surgical Tape

MIT team duplicates nano-scale ridges on lizards' sticky feet
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 9:20 AM CST
Surgeons may eventually no longer have to practice their sewing skills, if gecko bandages are successfully adapted for use inside humans.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Inspired by geckos' sticky feet, MIT scientists have developed a bandage that could soon be used in place of stitches or staples during surgery. The waterproof material, coated with a sugar-based adhesive that has the nano-scale hills and valleys found on lizard feet, is flexible enough to be used on internal organs, MSNBC reports. Live studies have focused on rats, but human application isn't far off.

"This is exciting because it shows that we can go beyond nature to engineer designs that never evolved," said a researcher who previously utilized gecko secrets in developing a dry adhesive. The research team envisions coating the new patches with antibiotics to help patients recover. "This product would be needed, if it’s available," one surgeon agreed.