Leaf beetles use surface tension to get hold of the leaves they are navigating on
Image credits: Flickr / Gilles Gonthier
Written by Daniel Cressy at
"A sticky species of beetle has inspired researchers to develop a device that uses switchable 'liquid bridges' to attach to a variety of surfaces.
Bioengineers Michael Vogel and Paul Steen, of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, based their device on a technique used by the leaf beetle, which sticks to leaves using the combined surface tension of many drops working in concert to generate an adhesion force of more than 100 times its own body weight.
The device consists of a plate punctured with hundreds of tiny holes, through which liquid is pumped. Pushing droplets through these holes creates 'liquid bridges' when the plate comes close enough to another surface, generating an adhesive force through surface tension, they report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA1."
Here is an image of the device created by Vogel and Steen: