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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid