Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Research Sponsor

Peter Niewiarowski

First Reader

Henry Astley

Second Reader

Ali Dhinojwala


While many studies have investigated gecko adhesive locomotion, most studies investigate gecko locomotor performance while geckos are traveling upwards on an inclined or vertical substrate. Recent studies have suggested that geckos modulate the position of their hind limbs while descending an angled substrate, and that this modulation, does not appear to affect sprint velocity on substrate declines up to 45°. While there appears to be no performance decrement at relatively shallow substrate angles, it is unclear whether more challenging substrate angles would lead to different results. Given the directionality of the gecko adhesive system, traveling downward on a vertical substrate should be more difficult than traveling upward on the same vertical substrate. To test this, we studied the locomotion of six Gekko gecko sprinting upward or downward on a 2-meter vertical, acrylic racetrack, oriented at both 60° or 90°. A motion capture system was used to record the position of each gecko in 3-dimensional space as a function of time. This time and position data was used to calculate: mean instantaneous velocity, maximum instantaneous velocity, and ratio of time stopped to time moving. We also used a DSLR camera to record each run. The DSLR videos were then analyzed utilizing VLC Media Player and ImageJ. These images were used to calculate the hindfoot and forefoot orientation of the gecko during each treatment. Overall, we found that running orientation had no significant effect on mean instantaneous velocity, mean instantaneous velocity, or forefoot orientation. However, we found that running orientation did have a significant effect on ratio of time moving and hindfoot orientation.