Wall hugger

Date:27 October 2012 Tags:, ,

The US Air Force Research Lab funded a contest to find a device that could enable special operations teams to scale walls without using grappling hooks. The winners, Utah State University students, created a system with hand pads that stick to the wall through battery-powered suction. “During a demo, climbers were able to scale a 12 m-high building in about 45 seconds,” says engineering professor Steve Hansen. –Michael Belfiore

The challenge
Get climbers over a 27 m sheer concrete face without using grapples or ropes.

The winner
The Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber, which uses suction to adhere 136 kg to a wall.

Next Step
Make the system quieter and lighter than the 20,4 kg prototype.

Twin electric motors generate 0,24 bar of sucking power.

Rechargeable batteries run the device for up to half an hour.

Each footstep can support the climber’s weight when the opposite hand pad is moved.

Video: Watch the winning team exhibit their award-winning device by scaling a wall at the University of Utah.