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OU on the BBC: Science Shack - How do flies walk on ceilings?

Updated Friday, 2nd June 2006

Adam Hart-Davis and the team investigate how a fly walks, as part of the BBC/OU's Science Shack series.

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Adam Hart-Davis Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

Being at one with nature does not normally include wanting to join the flies on the ceiling. But walking up the walls and across the ceiling could be useful - think how easy changing a light bulb would become!

Flies, bats and geckos do it - why can't we? In this programme Adam and his team attempt to answer the question by investigating the science of ceiling walking.

Flies have adapted feet with hooks similar to hook and eye fastenings. Bats have a tendon that locks their feet in place, even when they are asleep. But without either, where does that leave us?

Our ideas are still very much up in the air! And what about the practical problems, how do you stop blood rushing to your head? How is Adam going to get up there? Will his team drive him up the wall?

First broadcast: Friday 2 Nov 2001 on BBC TWO

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