Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Extended Body Project

What I have done to my body is that I modified my fingers on my hands (assuming both left and right hands) to have what gecko toes have on their footpads.

They have a special adaptation of walking or climbing on on almost any surface, whether it be wet, dry, smooth, rough, hard, or soft. Having these types of fingers could help me with climbing or falling by slipping, even I were to hold myself against a wall, for example. The adhesion is active when I put tension onto a surface, it activates the setae on my fingers, creating a van der Waals force between the surface and the seate itself. On the surface of the gecko's feet, there are about 14,000 hair-like seate on the pads of the gecko, giving it better contact and more weight to climbing onto surfaces.

The adhesion doesn't work like duct tape where the adhesion is based on stickiness, but rather, it's the nano-sized strands of split-end hairs on the gecko's feet onto a surface and van der Waals force that create this stick. When the geckos drag their feet onto a vertical surface, the microfibers of those hairs stick due to the wall of course the gecko is moving rapidly so that it would not lose its balance and possibly fall down.

One of the greatest advantages of having gecko-like setae hairs on your fingers is that you could climb up walls without the use of a ladder or if you're a rock climber, don't need to rely on the basic equipment like a rope, carabiner, or a harness for example. Of course, one of the problems is that in order to efficiently use my modified gecko-like hands, I would need to have good upper body strength in order to climb up, since the gravity on Earth is pushing me down to the ground. Even for rock climbers, especially when they are climbing on high walls, they would probably need a quick rest after climbing for so long, so you still need those climbing equipment.


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