News / Science & Technology

Frog's Sticky Tongue Could Lead to Adhesive Innovations

Frog's Sticky Tongue Could Lead to Adhesive Innovationsi
X
VOA News
June 12, 2014 2:19 PM
From telescopes inspired by lobster eyes that see more of space, to new Japanese high-speed trains modeled after Kingfisher beaks, engineers who take cues from nature to fuel innovation are turning their attention to the sticky tongues of frogs. Thomas Kleinteich, of Germany's Kiel University, wanted to know how the sticky tongues of frogs compare to the feet of the much-studied gecko, which can blaze a trail up a wall or race upside down across a ceiling.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Frog's Sticky Tongue Could Lead to Adhesive Innovations

Rosanne Skirble
From telescopes inspired by lobster eyes that see more of space, to new Japanese high-speed trains modeled after Kingfisher beaks, engineers who take cues from nature to fuel innovation are turning their attention to the sticky tongues of frogs.

Thomas Kleinteich, of Germany's Kiel University, wanted to know how the sticky tongues of frogs compare to the feet of the much-studied gecko, which can blaze a trail up a wall or race upside down across a ceiling.  

“Basically it was interesting to study a new adhesive system in biology,” he said.    

Kleinteich designed an experiment with the horned frog, a popular pet in Germany.  Placed in a terrarium behind pressure sensitive glass, he tempted the frog with live crickets on the other side of the panel. The team then measured the forces on the glass as the frog tried to capture them. 

“…like the tongue impact and also when the frog was pulling its tongue back trying to detach again from the glass slide," he said. "Then, of course, I also got the tongue print on the glass, after the tongue detached.” 

Kleinteich and his co-workers did 80 trials using four frogs.  

“What we actually found was that the tongue adhesive forces were well beyond the body weight of these frogs," he said. "And, another thing which we found, which I did not expect, was that the mucus or the slime on top of their tongues does not seem to be that important as people always assumed.” 

While sticky feet can take geckos up walls, Kleinteich says, in one way, a frog tongue may be even more dynamic, because it is blindingly fast.

“… in a way that frog tongues [take] only a few milliseconds to actually establish contact," he said. "So it is not like having a piece of tape and to rub it against the wall and wait for a few seconds for [it to stick], [the frog] is immediate, in terms of less than 10 or 20 milliseconds.”

And since frogs have a diet that ranges from insects to small birds, their tongues can attach to many different surfaces, which Kleinteich says merits more study.    
 
“The next steps for me will be, first to study the structure of the tongues and second also to compare multiple species to maybe find more general patterns to find how this mechanism may work.  And in the far future I could think of some frog inspired adhesives, but this way beyond where we are at the moment. ”

Kleinteich's study is published in Scientific Reports.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid