If you've ever dreamed of scaling a building and kissing your girl à la Spider-Man, the opportunity may be closer than you think. A team of engineers at Stanford University have successfully developed a pair of gloves that can support a full-grown man's weight—up to 200 pounds, to be specific.
Hailed by Esquire as "the future for your fingers," these gloves were actually inspired by the way geckos climb. The groundbreaking invention harnesses the same "van der Waals forces" that allow geckos to stick to surfaces. Somehow, the Stanford researchers were able to create tiles called "PDMS microwedges," which generates those same forces and allows for humans to adhere to buildings. So far, a 150-pound man has tested the gloves 100s of times without failure.
In order for the gloves to work, "the surface you're climbing needs to be relatively smooth, like glass, varnished wood, polished stone, or metal,” Stanford mechanical engineer Elliot Hawkes told Esquire.
If the science behind these gloves interests you, read this BBC article for further explanation. In the meantime, watch this video below, and marvel at how far humans have advanced.