Students Design Spider-Man Tech for Air Force

Students Design Spider-Man Tech for Air Force

Utah State University engineers used a vacuum pack to ascend vertical walls.

Any comic book fan knows that Spider-Man does whatever a spider can, but soon the U.S. Air Force may take on one of the wall-crawler's unique abilities. The high-flying military branch sponsored a contest to see if college students could develop an efficient, personal system for climbing vertical walls. A group of engineers at Utah State University stepped up to the challenge and came up with a dual vacuum tube contraption. While the resulting creation is large and noisy, it brought its test subject up a wall safely, and the USAF wants the students to continue their research.

A video of the system demonstrates a student climbing up a vertical wall with a large pack strapped to his back (and a harness attached for safety). The pack consists of two vacuum tubes that generate suction in two handheld pads. Using these pads, the student is able to scale a wall one arm-length at a time without having to secure a spot atop the structure. Unfortunately, because of the racket the system generates (imagine two vacuum cleaners going off simultaneously), it's not ready for reconnaissance missions just yet, but the Air Force sees a promising start. The USU students will receive $100,000 to keep the project moving and develop something that the Air Force can take into the field.

If this project gets off the ground (so to speak), it will be for military purposes, so civilians should not expect to recreate their favorite issues of Spider-Man anytime soon. This means that there will be few opportunities to kiss a girl upside-down in the rain, but you also won't have to see the love of your life thrown off a bridge, so we can probably call this one a draw.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

Permalink

Does this mean I need to join the Air Force now? I think it does.

Don't give it to the military! Don't you realize this is another chance to create another minority superhero?

The Carpet Muncher!

DVS BSTrD:
Don't give it to the military! Don't you realize this is another chance to create another minority superhero?

The Carpet Muncher!

Having seen some of your other quips, I think you're trying too hard on this one.

...Besides, everyone knows we'd see it abused by some supervillain calling himself the Dirt Devil...

Didn't Mythbusters build one of those and then give up? The machine worked, but it was a hell of a lot of effort for the person to climb.

And you'd want a surface that allowed for really good seals, or plummetting may result.

thaluikhain:
Didn't Mythbusters build one of those and then give up? The machine worked, but it was a hell of a lot of effort for the person to climb.

And you'd want a surface that allowed for really good seals, or plummetting may result.

I believe the issue they had with it initially was that they could only maintain suction if both cups were planted on the surface they were climbing, but deduced that they would need a vacuum for every cup to get it right. Also keep in mind that they used 4 cups total. One on each hand and one on each knee. Or at least that's what I recall.

Very cool but useless for any kind of stealth operation. Given that thing makes so much noise you may as well just blow the wall open.

the noise issue was also covered on that episode, so they probably knew it was too loud to begin with

still, given that this was on a television show, i don't think they deserve any awards for innovation, lol

Science, Fuck Yeah!!

making noise, FOR SCIENCE!

Awesome technology awful video though.

Whatever happened to the gecko inspired dry adhesive? That's quiet, re-usable, and doesn't use any energy to stick to things. I coulda sworn that the US military was working on making that more practical for soldiers to use.

EDIT: Yes, DARPA's making it. It's called Z-Man. Trust the mad science division of the US government to come up with this: http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/DSO/Programs/Z_Man.aspx

laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

This is kinda cheating because this will never have a covert application which is what you would want it to be used for. Everyone from myself to the mythbusters have tried this idea. They should have kept continuing the micro-fiber idea.

thaluikhain:
Didn't Mythbusters build one of those and then give up? The machine worked, but it was a hell of a lot of effort for the person to climb.

And you'd want a surface that allowed for really good seals, or plummetting may result.

that's exactly what i came here to say. they just ripped off mythbusters' design.

There was also an old tv show where contestants would become a superhero based around a certain power and had to compete against each other. They had a small team to help them make their "powers" work. One episode had this exact same thing. It's not exactly new or groundbreaking tech and for military applications there's probably better ways of doing it.

Looks cool, although REALLY loud :(
also Spider-Man thread? image

How do students get these opportunities? All I did in university was attend powerpoint presentations where the lecturer would double check his facts with the mature students, and the occasional field trip to a small village to stare at empty fields and housing estates.

Maybe it was just my course...

Didn't the UK Gadget Show do this, like, 3 years ago? The guy climbed up the side of a fucking building about 80ft tall.

DVS BSTrD:
Don't give it to the military! Don't you realize this is another chance to create another minority superhero?

The Carpet Muncher!

carpet muncher? nay, this is the cleanup man!!
he cleans up crimes and walls with his vacuums of righteousness!

Nice big target to shoot at! Why when you can use a rappel line? It will be pretty damn heavy for a while until it gets miniaturized.. if it even gets miniaturized.

Waaghpowa:

thaluikhain:
Didn't Mythbusters build one of those and then give up? The machine worked, but it was a hell of a lot of effort for the person to climb.

And you'd want a surface that allowed for really good seals, or plummetting may result.

I believe the issue they had with it initially was that they could only maintain suction if both cups were planted on the surface they were climbing, but deduced that they would need a vacuum for every cup to get it right. Also keep in mind that they used 4 cups total. One on each hand and one on each knee. Or at least that's what I recall.

Pretty much correct.

Adam tried to scale a building with it, but the rig failed mid-way, and he gave up from tiredness.

But, they certainly proved that it could work. As I recall, they were limited by the vacuum generator available to them, as it was indeed not powerful enough to keep the vacuum up when more than one of the cups was off of the wall.

Adam originally fell down quite a few times, leading to him discovering the above.

Looks to me like these guys basically solved the issue by just having two different vacuum generators, one for each cup.

But yeah. Mythbusters did this first.

So USU students are hard at work on stealth vacuum-cleaner technology? Maybe they should contract this out to Dyson, instead...?

Actually, I think I like the gecko-fiber idea better, if they can get that working efficiently. My understanding is that part of the problem is that it has to not only adhere, but, well, "dis-adhere" with minimal effort. The geckos make it look so easy...

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here