Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Nearly every one of your science classes

  • starts off with the scientific method.

  • You recognize this?

  • Ask a question,

  • form a hypothesis,

  • perform an experiment,

  • collect data,

  • draw conclusions,

  • and then memorize a bunch of facts.

  • This is really boring!

  • Science is not a simple recipe in a cookbook,

  • and learning is not memorizing facts for tests.

  • Yet, that is exactly what we do.

  • We have to change this!

  • We have to look at how curiosity can ultimately benefit society

  • by looking towards tomorrow,

  • by going through a path from involvement

  • to imagination

  • to invention

  • to innovation.

  • And I'd like to illustrate this by telling you the real story

  • about how we discovered how geckos stick.

  • First you need to get involved.

  • You need to do curiosity-driven research yourself.

  • We know that learning by being an active researcher

  • is the best way to learn.

  • Imagine being in my lab

  • and trying to discover how geckos stick.

  • "Here is one of our subjects.

  • This is a crested gecko.

  • We are going to put the gecko on glass

  • and we're going to use a high speed camera

  • that can capture up to 1,000 pictures in one second.

  • There he goes.

  • OK, record it.

  • There's the animal's toes."

  • "So how do their feet stick and unstick so quickly?"

  • How do they do this?

  • We wonder, it's kind of crazy, right?

  • It's hard to believe.

  • Well it turns out, it was already known that the geckos have hairy toes,

  • and those hairs are really small compared to your hair,

  • and the little tips at the end are even smaller.

  • Well, my student Tanya,

  • who is not much older than some of you when she did this,

  • a sophomore undergraduate,

  • tried to figure this out,

  • and we told that her that in order to do this,

  • you'd have to measure the force of a single hair.

  • Though we kind of only did this jokingly

  • because these hairs are so small,

  • we didn't think it was possible.

  • But Tanya didn't know that,

  • and she went on to build the simplest,

  • most beautiful measurement device ever.

  • Here it is:

  • she took one of those tiny little hairs

  • and put it on to a probe,

  • and then she began pushing it into the metal beam.

  • Now she was very frustrated for months - it didn't stick.

  • But she had figured out she had to orient it

  • just like the gecko grabs on,

  • and then it worked!

  • And there's the little split ends grabbing the beam in that little window.

  • And then she did something magical:

  • for the first time ever,

  • she measured the force of a single gecko hair

  • that allowed her to discover

  • a completely new way to stick to something,

  • something no human has ever known before.

  • They have hairy little toes,

  • huge numbers of hairs,

  • and each hair has the worst case of split ends possible,

  • 100 to 1,000 nano-tips that an animal has on one hair,

  • and 2 billion total,

  • and they don't stick by glue,

  • or by suction,

  • or by velcro.

  • It was discovered that they stick by inter-molecular forces alone,

  • by van der Waals forces,

  • and you'll learn this in Chemistry and Physics, if you take it.

  • It's unbelievable!

  • It's a whole new way of thinking about making an adhesive!

  • Well, this isn't the end of the story,

  • there are still mysteries.

  • Why are the gecko's feet looking like this?

  • They have bizarre toes and we don't know why.

  • If you go into a museum and look at each gecko species,

  • you see they have all different hairs,

  • different lengths, and thicknesses, and patterns.

  • Why?

  • I don't know!

  • But you should come to Berkeley and help me figure this out.

  • It's just about right, so, apply.

  • But it's a mystery.

  • There is even more stuff that is unknown.

  • This tarantula also has hairs

  • and can stick this way, too,

  • but recently it was found that they also can secrete silk from their feet,

  • not just their behind, like you know they do.

  • And even more recently, my graduate student Ann showed

  • that all spiders can secrete glue,

  • and we know nothing about this glue

  • except it was around way before this guy,

  • millions of years before.

  • So don't stop at the discovery,

  • next imagine the possible uses for society.

  • Here is the first human supported by a gecko-inspired adhesive.

  • This is my former graduate student, Kellar Autumn,

  • who is professor at Lewis and Clark,

  • offering his second born child for the test.

  • And she's a very good sport about it!

  • Now imagine all the things you could make from this,

  • not only adhesives, but products in sports,

  • and biomedicine,

  • technology,

  • robotics,

  • toys,

  • automotive,

  • fashion,

  • clothes,

  • and yes, even hair pieces.

  • I swear to you, we got a call from Michael Jackson's hairdresser

  • about hair pieces before he passed away.

  • Who would have guessed from studying geckos?!?

  • Next, invent a game-changing technology, device, or product.

  • Like my engineering colleague at Berkeley, Ron Fearing, did

  • when he made one of the first synthetic, self-cleaning dry adhesives

  • after the simplest version that you see in animals.

  • Believe it or not, right now, because of this work,

  • you can make your own synthetic gecko nano-tape

  • by nano-molding with just a few parts,

  • and here's the recipe that we can give you.

  • It's been incredible since we made this discovery

  • of all the papers and the work

  • and the different ways to make it,

  • it's emerging into a billion dollar industry.

  • And who would have imagined that it started

  • because we were curious about how geckos can run up walls.

  • Next you need to innovate,

  • create a business that ultimately benefits society.

  • Did you know that there are 6 million people per year that have chronic wounds,

  • 2 million develop an infection,

  • and infections account for 100,000 hospital deaths?

  • Imagine if you could build a company that could produce

  • a gecko-inspired band-aid

  • that would remove the pain and suffering.

  • Just a simple invention.

  • If you look at the last three great earthquakes,

  • over 700,000 people were trapped and lost their lives.

  • Imagine the company that made a search-and-rescue robot

  • inspired from a gecko

  • that could move anywhere

  • and quickly find individuals that have been trapped,

  • that sometimes survive as long as two weeks.

  • There is a gecko-inspired robot, StickyBot,

  • from the Stanford group,

  • that can grab on to any surface.

  • Now we ran our own, for TED, Mini Bio-inspired Design Challenge

  • to get you to think about these kinds of products.

  • We have a winner.

  • Here's the winner.

  • The winner came up with this design called StickySeat.

  • Really clever.

  • It's a seat that is not only comfortable,

  • but it aids a seat belt, if you were in an accident,

  • in terms of keeping your seat and moving.

  • This is brilliant!

  • We didn't think about this,

  • although we might think about patenting it now,

  • but there is a winner for this,

  • and the winner, and you can't,

  • you can't make up something like this,

  • the winner's name

  • is Harry.

  • Where's Harry?

  • Harry, come here, we have a prize for you.

  • Where's Harry?

  • Harry!

  • Come here!

  • We have a crested gecko for you

  • that has very cool hairs on it.

  • Congratulations for Harry!

  • Excellent job!

  • So don't worry, if you missed out on this, it's OK

  • because we are doing another design challenge

  • working with the San Diego Zoo.

  • They're developing a best ideas project in San Diego,

  • but it's going to go national.

  • And I'll leave you with a fact that you should keep being curious

  • because curiosity-based research leads to the biggest benefits,

  • as we showed you in our example,

  • and you can make a difference

  • now

  • because like Tanya,

  • you don't know what can't be done.

  • Thank you.

Nearly every one of your science classes

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 TED-Ed gecko harry winner stick hair

【TED-Ed】Curiosity, discovery and gecko feet - Robert Full

  • 3938 137
    Zenn posted on 2013/06/09
Video vocabulary