Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spider-Suit In Development | Friday, 27 April 2007 | An Italian researcher is working on a project that could lead to a real-life Spider-Man suit.

"It's a field that can have very interesting applications in science - like in space, for example," Said Nicola Pugno, at the Polytechnic University in Turin, Italy. "An astronaut could use a suit with a suction-cup adhesion system."

Pugno, a 35-year-old materials scientist, said he has worked on a form of adhesion for the last decade, that might lead to the Spider-Man-like suit. He estimates the suit could be constructed in another 10 years, and would include extremely fine, sticky filaments.

Like many other researchers, he is using the gecko lizard as an example. The gecko's feet are covered with tiny hairs called setae, that allow for strong adhesion to different types of surfaces.

Pugno is seeking to mimic the effect of the setae, though several problems remain to be worked through.

"One of the problems that has arisen is controlling the adhesion - because remaining attached to a wall is not difficult," he said. "All you have to do is attach it with superglue. But then how do you detach it and re-attach it again?"

A self-cleaning mechanism also has to be developed for the system, he said. "A gecko that walks in the sand has to clean his feet after a few steps," he said.

Despite his work's obvious Spider-Man similarities, Pugno said he has no particular interest in the hit movies – another of which is to hit cinemas soon. Science is what fascinates him. Science fiction, he said, "leads to nothing." (Nino Guevara Ruwano)


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