Spiderman copycats get a boost with Gecko toe discovery

Good news for wannabe web-slingers as scientists appear to be on the way to figuring out how to get the spider-like ability to cling to walls.

According to a group of researchers at the University of Southampton, the power of light can be used to allow objects to stick together. 

Electromagnetic forces are instrumental to “adhesion of gecko’s toes” apparently, and they believe that a light-driven force could help generate a similar adhesive effect on demand.

The team’s research, highlighted in TechnologyReview, contends that it is possible to create an optical force using a metamaterial and metal plate.  When electrons called plasmons are illuminated close to a metal plate and interact with electrons in another material close by, a resonant effect can pull the two together.

When hit with the right amount of illumination it is possible to overcome the effects of gravity, meaning on a quantum scale at least it’s possible to stick to specific surfaces without falling down.

It appears that these discoveries are at the very rudimentary scale, so trying out your old Spiderman pyjamas is probably not a good idea just yet.

In the same way that over-excited journalists like us claim that Harry Potter invisibility cloaks are on their way when findings are made at atomic level, it appears that scientists are still gaining knowledge of the electromagnetic forces at work.

It is thought that further experiments will give full detection of the electromagnetic force within the next few weeks or months.