Geckos inspire researchers

Geckos are warm climate lizards, whose toe pads are equipped with thin adhesive strips that allow them to adhere to walls and ceilings. These little critters have inspired a team of American scientists who were designing a waterproof adhesive bandage that could be used for surgical wounds and internal traumas.

Where can you find inspiration to develop new internal bandages? Actually, some researchers have relied on small reptiles. Geckos are warm climate lizards, whose toe pads are equipped with thin adhesive strips that allow them to adhere to walls and ceilings. These little critters have inspired a team of American scientists who were designing a waterproof adhesive bandage that could be used for surgical wounds and internal traumas. This new bandage has a biorubber microstructure similar to the one that makes geckos’ feet incredibly sticky. On this miscrostructure, we find a thin coat of sugar-based glue which bonds very strongly, even in humid environments such as the inside of the human body.

As this material is biodegradable and dissolves over time, physicians would no longer have to perform surgeries to remove the bandage. Better yet, the rate of degradation, along with the microstructure and elasticity of the bandage could also be adjusted. This means that the new technology could be used for various medical applications such as sealing a whole caused by an ulcer, or reconnecting the intestine after the removal of a diseased segment.

Laboratory tests conducted on rats have demonstrated that the new bandage formed strong bonds and only provoked minor immune reactions that are unlikely to cause significant difficulties in a clinical setting.

Without a doubt, the wonders of nature will keep inspiring us for a long time to come!

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