If a human want to walk up the wall like spiderman, he would need very, very large sticky feet.
Spiderman will never become a reality since no human has such large hands and feet which are required to walk up a wall.
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A latest research reveals that geckos are the largest animals with an ability to stick to vertical walls and climb up. Researchers estimate if a human wants to walk up like geckos, he would need large-scale sticky pads that can cover 40% of his body surface.
In all the animals that can climb from mites to spiders to tree frogs and geckos, the percentage of body surface covered by adhesive feet increases as the body size increases, suggesting a larger animal need possibly bigger feet to climb a wall or tree.
If that is the case, humans will need bigger hands and feet for doing so.
"If a human, for example, wanted to walk up a wall the way a gecko does, we'd need impractically large sticky feet - our shoes would need to be a European size 145 or a US size 114.” Co-author Walter Federle from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology said.
Researchers suggest as the animal increases in size, the amount of body surface occupied by feet decreases. The ant has a lot of surface area but very little volume while whale has more volume but very little surface area.
“This poses a problem for larger climbing species because, when they are bigger and heavier, they need more sticking power to be able to adhere to vertical or inverted surfaces, but they have comparatively less body surface available to cover with sticky footpads. This implies that there is a size limit to sticky footpads as an evolutionary solution to climbing - and that turns out to be about the size of a gecko." David Labonte, lead author of the study said.
Due to this limitation, larger animals have evolved other techniques such as toes and claws for having a firm grip during climbing.
Researchers examined the weight and footpad size of 225 animal species to understand how the size of pad influences the ability of walking up the walls. These findings can lead to the development of large scale, man-made adhesives.
“Our study emphasizes the importance of scaling for animal adhesion and scaling is also essential for improving the performance of adhesives over much larger areas,” said Labonte.
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“There is a lot of interesting work still to do looking into the strategies that animals have developed in order to maintain the ability to scale smooth walls, which would likely also have very useful applications in the development of large-scale, powerful yet controllable adhesives."