Professor Robert Full, biologist

Professor Robert Full, biologist

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This image is part of the feature Polypedal Lab

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Professor Robert Full, biologist, with gecko (family Gekkonidae). Full is head of the PolyPEDAL Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. The PolyPEDAL Lab researches animal locomotion using miniature versions of equipment for modelling human motion. In 2002 Full co- discovered that geckos were able to climb vertical and upside-down surfaces due to weak intermolecular forces (van der Waals forces) in the microscopic hairs (setae and spatulae) that cover the gecko's toes. Full has also collaborated with engineers to create robots that mimic animal locomotion, and with film animators requiring realistic animal motion data. Photographed in 2005.

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