About nanotechnology: nanotechnology is science at the size of individual atoms and molecules: objects and devices measuring mere billionths of a meter, smaller than a red blood cell. At that size scale, materials have different chemical and physical properties than those of the same materials in bulk, because quantum mechanics is more important. For example, carbon atoms can conduct electricity and are stronger than steel when woven into hollow microscopic threads. Nanoparticles are already widely used in certain commercial consumer products, such as suntan lotions, "age-defying" make-up, and self-cleaning windows that shed dirt when it rains. One company manufactures a nanocrystal wound dressing with built-in antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. On the horizon is toothpaste that coats, protects and repairs damaged enamel, as well as self-cleaning shoes that never need polishing. Nanoparticles are also used as additives in building materials to strengthen the walls of any given structure, and to create tough, durable, yet lightweight fabrics.
Gecko to the rescue: geckos can scale smooth walls at a whopping three feet per second, and in last decade scientists have begun to understand how these little lizards can defy gravity. It turns out that gecko feet have millions of little projections, called setae, which split into hundreds of projections shaped like spatulas. Each of these tips can attach to smooth surfaces by taking advantage of intermolecular forces, which are individually relatively weak and unstable but can combine to generate enough force to allow a gecko to hang upside-down from one foot.