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Carnegie Mellon Spinoff is First Mass Manufacturer of Gecko-Inspired Adhesive

nanoGriptech’s new Setex™ adhesive is gecko-inspired. The company specializes in dry adhesive solutions and products that address adhesive challenges in industries such as automotive and medical. Photo courtesy of nanoGriptech.

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University spinoff nanoGriptech recently announced the launch of Setex™, reported to be the first commercially available, gecko-inspired adhesive. Because it is dry and can repeatedly grip to surfaces without leaving a residue, Setex™ addresses the needs of many industries, including automotive, manufacturing, medical, defense, aerospace, and apparel.

“Much like Velcro™ or Kevlar™, we believe Setex™ will disrupt markets because of its many commercial applications,” said Roi Ben Itzhak, CFO and vice president of business development for nanoGriptech, in a company release. “Setex™ is residue-free, strong, and reusable. There are other gecko-inspired materials in labs around the world, but, unlike Setex, they have all have weak peel strengths and are prohibitively expensive to manufacture.”

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, nanoGriptech was founded by Metin Sitti, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon who worked for nearly a decade to understand and synthesize biologically inspired micro/nanostructured adhesives.

Setex’s glue-free fibers mimic the adhesive qualities of gecko foot hair. Intermolecular forces found at the tips of the hairs enable geckos to walk across ceilings. Like a gecko’s foot, Setex can be applied to a variety of surfaces and lifted repeatedly. The synthetic fibers are strong — several square inches of Setex will support hundreds of pounds. And nanoGriptech researchers can customize their manufacturing techniques at the microscale level to produce materials that are modified for different applications, such as enhancing a robot’s ability to pick up a part or improving the fit of prosthetic limbs on skin.

Since nanoGriptech was founded in 2009, Carnegie Mellon has received four patents, and eight more are pending. The company’s customers include NASA, the Department of Defense, and Fortune 500 companies.

The College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University is a top-ranked engineering college that is known for our intentional focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration in research. The College is well-known for working on problems of both scientific and practical importance.

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