Nature has always proved to be the major inspiration for technological advances. If man did not see birds flying in the air, they would not have thought of taking off to the skies, and researchers over at the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering have decided to be inspired by the feet of tree frogs in order to help them construct a small robot which was specially designed to crawl within your body whenever a keyhole surgery is performed. The idea does not sound inviting at all for sure, but the practical applications of such a robot would seem to bring plenty of potential benefit during surgery.
It seems that the tree frog’s feet possessed of the kind of gripping power which proved to be the solution required for a device to grip and hold onto wet, slippery tissue – and in this case, having a robot move about your abdominal cavity would definitely require such capabilities. This bio-inspired robot remains as a prototype, where it comprises of four feet with each foot being able to hold a maximum of approximately 15 grams for each square centimetre in contact with a slippery surface. Image courtesy of National Geographic.