Spinoff releases gecko-inspired adhesive

Carnegie Mellon University spinoff nanoGriptech has announced the launch of Setex™, the first commercially available gecko-inspired adhesive. Because it is dry and can repeatedly grip to surfaces without leaving a residue, Setex™ addresses the needs of many businesses, including those in the automotive, manufacturing, medical, defense, aerospace and apparel industries.

nanoGriptech was founded by Metin Sitti, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon who worked for nearly a decade to understand and synthesize biologically inspired micro/nanostructured adhesives. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, nanoGriptech exemplifies how universities and industry work together to support innovation and economic growth.

gecko
Setex’s™ glue-free fibers mimic the adhesive qualities of gecko foot hair.

“Much like Velcro™ or Kevlar™, we believe Setex™ will disrupt markets because of its many commercial applications. Setex™ is residue-free, strong and reusable,” says Roi Ben Itzhak, nanoGriptech CFO and vice president of business development. “There are other gecko-inspired materials in labs around the world, but, unlike Setex, they have all have weak peel strengths and are prohibitively expensive to manufacture.”

Setex’s™ glue-free fibers mimic the adhesive qualities of gecko foot hair. Intermolecular forces found at the tips of the hairs enable geckos to walk across ceilings. Like a gecko’s foot, Setex™ can be applied to a variety of surfaces and lifted repeatedly. The synthetic fibers are strong; several square inches of Setex™ will support hundreds of pounds.

nanoGriptech researchers can customize their manufacturing techniques at the microscale level to produce materials that are modified for different applications, such as enhancing a robot’s ability to pick up a part or improving the fit of prosthetic limbs on skin.

Since nanoGriptech was founded in 2009, Carnegie Mellon has received four patents, and eight more are pending. The company’s customers include NASA, the Department of Defense and Fortune 500 companies.

Watch video demonstrations of Setex™ gripping to surfaces like a gecko and picking up and repositioning a fragile object, a task that is important in manufacturing.