Biomimicry is the practice of reverse engineering natural life and fabricating machinery based on the observations, and the TBCP-11 is the perfect example of how to productively learn from the 5 billion years of evolution on planet Earth.
For the uninitiated, gecko's have the tactile ability to plant their digits on almost any surface and stay there, despite their relatively large size. This uncanny power served as the inspiration for Simon Frasier University researchers who spent years developing the TBCP-11 (Tailless Timing Belt Climbing Platform) for search-and-rescue operations and maintenance in dangerous areas. Exploiting a curious phenomenon called the Van der Waals force, the gecko-bot can scurry up walls at a speed of 3.4cm per second. The newest prototype of the TBCP-11 can autonomously navigate its environment and will hopefully be deployed to repair malfunctions in nuclear plants, rescue children lost in caverns or sewer systems and maintain old buildings.
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