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The Stickiest Non-Sticky Substance
Veritasium 13.3M Followers 351 Videos 1.97B Total Views 2023-01-23 PublishedData Updated on 2023-01-25
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veritasium science physics
Adhesives based on gecko skin can hold huge weights – without sticking to anything. Head to to start your free trial. The first 200 of you will get 20% off Brilliant’s annual premium subscription.

Thanks to Dr. Mark Cutkosky, Tony Chen, Amar Hajj-Ahmad, and the rest of the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab at Stanford University for showing us the power of gecko adhesives.

Russell, A. P., Stark, A. Y., & Higham, T. E. (2019). The integrative biology of gecko adhesion: historical review, current understanding, and grand challenges. Integrative and comparative biology, 59(1), 101-116. –

Hajj-Ahmad, A., Suresh, S. A., and Cutkosky, M. R. (June 6, 2021). "Cutting to the Point: Directly Machined Metal Molds for Directional Gecko-Inspired Adhesives." ASME. J. Micro Nano-Manuf. doi:

Kerst, Capella F., "Gecko inspired adhesives : permanent practical manufacturing, new materials, and applications," PhD Thesis, Stanford Universisty, December 2020.

Suresh, S.A. "Engineering Gecko-Inspired Adhesives." Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 2020. [Online]. Available:

Suresh, S.A., Kerst, C.F., Cutkosky, M.R., Hawkes, E.W. "Spatially variant microstructured adhesive with one-way friction." Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 2019. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0705

Glick, P., Suresh, S.A., Ruffatto III, D., Cutkosky, M.R., Tolley, M.T., and Parness, A. "A soft robotic gripper with gecko-inspired adhesive." Robotics and Automation Letters. 2018. doi:10.1109/LRA.2018.2792688.

Christensen, D.L., Hawkes, E.W., Suresh, S.A., Ladenheim, K. and Cutkosky, M.R., "µTugs: Enabling Microrobots to Deliver Macro Forces with Controllable Adhesives," IEEE/ICRA 2015 (preprint).
Hawkes, E. W., "Applying Dry Adhesives to the Real World," Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 2015.

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Written by Derek Muller & Petr Lebedev
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Animation by Ivy Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller, Raquel Nuno & Albert Leung
Additional video/photos supplied by Pond5 & Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Exec. Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang