Gecko Feet Inspire New Bra Design

November 19, 2015 | Elizabeth Knowles

The pads on a gecko's foots
Photo credit: Matt Reinbold/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A bra that really sticks.

What do geckos’ feet and the new Kelly K Apparel bra have in common? They both stay put. If you have ever worn a strapless bra, you know the frustrations that come along with them: tight bands, irritations, rashes, and slipping bras to name a few.

When robotics engineer Anthony Roy heard his wife complaining about not being able to wear a favorite shirt because she didn’t want to wear a strapless bra, he set about coming up with a solution. The bra he ended up engineering is based on the design of a gecko’s foot.

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Geckos are able to cling to surfaces thanks to attractive forces between molecules called Van der Waals forces. Their toes are bristled with tiny hair-like structures that maximize the surface area of their feet and thus the number of molecules that are able to attract each other. While Van der Waals forces are not very strong by themselves, when added together they can support the weight of an entire lizard — or in this case, a bra.

According to the couple’s website, “The patent-pending lining keeps the bra securely in place and can be easily peeled off by the wearer without causing discomfort. GeckTeck™ lining is also residue-free, can be reused thousands of times, and even works in moisture.”

The stickiness is similar to static cling and is harmless, painless, and hypoallergenic. Because the bra is naturally adhesive, it doesn’t have to be overly tight to stay up.

Their Kickstarter has now passed phase two. Bras should be available by April 2016 and will be offered in two styles (with and without underwire) and three colors (black, white, and beige). The company has also partnered with Pink Warrior Angels, a not-for-profit that supports breast cancer survivors.

Learn more about and GeckTeck™ and Van der Waals forces in this video:


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