MIT researchers created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries. The MIT researchers built the adhesive with a biorubber and, using micropatterning technology, shaped the biorubber into different hill and valley profiles at nanoscale dimensions.
The surface of the bandage has the same kind of nanoscale hills and valleys that allow the lizards to cling to walls and ceilings. Applied over this landscape is a thin coating of sugar-based glue that helps the biodegradable bandage stick in wet environments, such as to heart, bladder, or lung tissue.
Because it can be folded and unfolded, the bandage is potentially suitable for minimally invasive surgical procedures that are performed through a very small incision. The adhesive could also be infused with drugs designed to release as the biorubber degrades. The elasticity and degradation rate of the biorubber are tunable - as is the pillared landscape - allowing for customizable elasticity, resilience, and grip for different medical applications.