Think surgery. Think stitches and staples. While tape is used in some cases, outside the body, researchers say there has to be a better way, especially inside the body.
"There's a great need for a tape-based medical adhesive that can either augment or replace standard sutures or staples," said Jeff Karp, a researcher with Harvard Medical School.
Enter this guy, a gecko with feet that let him walk up walls.
"We look at this more of a gecko inspired adhesive than a gecko mimicking adhesive," Karp said.
What's inspiring Karp is nano-scale pillars in gecko feet that provide a tighter connection between the feet and a wall, so tight that on a molecular level, there's a sort of magnetic attraction.
As they wrote in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," the researchers made a surgical tape by fabricating similar tiny pillars that mechanically held to tissue. For more holding power, they added a glue.
"We had to go beyond the mechanisms that the gecko uses to attach and add this thin layer of a biodegradable glue to the surface," said Karp.
What they wanted was a tape that could stick to wet tissue inside someone.
"We have tested this against intestinal tissue in the laboratory and we've maximized the adhesion through playing with the various nano-scale features of these pillars," said Karp.
It's scientific use of this guy's "tacky little secret" that may some day make surgical stitches a thing of the past.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.