Hooks that are used in textile fasteners like Velcro are usually quite stiff. Therefore, they often damage other materials if they accidentally cling to them. However, the new fasteners, the design of which was spied on by mushrooms, do not have this drawback.
These experimental fasteners are 3D printed and developed in the Netherlands. The usual hard hooks in them have been replaced by soft polymer structures that resemble tiny mushrooms in shape. If you press such a fastener to a thin fabric, fungi penetrate through its threads and adhere to it reliably enough.
When the fastener is torn off, the fungi gently come out of the fabric without damaging it. At the same time, they do not emit such a loud crackle as regular Velcro. This property is extremely important in the use of, for example, military equipment. The new fasteners may also be used to create soles for walking robots, allowing them to walk on walls and ceilings like geckos. These tiny lizards use a very similar mechanism to move.
A study on new biomimetic fasteners was published in the journal Biointerphases.