Abstract: Firm attachment between loose objects is a critical issue in the absence of gravity like, e.g. on-board a space station. This fundamental issue of
space travel led to the success of the bioinspired Velcro which is based on a statistical anchoring between a "hook" surface and a "loop" surface.
Together with the increasing use of extra-vehicular activities, a system
working on a broad variety of surfaces, e.g. the hull of a space station, is needed. Robotic devices need to locomote freely and safely on the outside of spacecraft. On top of that, complexity of the system must be kept at a minimum.
Recent research on geckos and spiders, Evarcha arcuata, led to the
description of an even more astonishing mechanism of so called dry
attachment via van der Waals forces. Contrary to the gecko, the spiders
control attachment passively via the kinematics of their legs. Their
locomotive apparatus is highly versatile allowing for walking, jumping,
and object handling. In the study presented here, we analyzed the
attachment systems of E. arcuata and geckos and together with existing
data on spider kinematics we conceptualized a legged walker suitable for
space applications, for example working on the outer surface of a space