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Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the wall-crawler dept.

The Military 64

ygslash (893445) writes DARPA is developing hand-held paddles that can be used to scale vertical walls. The adhesion technology employed in the paddles is based on Van der Waals force, inspired by the feet of certain species of geckos known for their excellent climbing ability. In a recent test, a man weighing almost 100 kg (220 lbs) and carrying a heavy pack that added about 23 kg (50 lbs) of additional weight, was able to scale a vertical glass wall almost 8 m (25 ft) high using the paddles. However, the paddles are reported to be 'not battlefield-ready yet.'

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64 comments

DARPA=bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219007)

1st post, nuff said

Re:DARPA=bullshit (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219155)

Are you sure you want to stick to that story?

Taking inspiration from the movies (1)

Camael (1048726) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219451)

I see someone at DARPA is a fan of Mission: Impossible [yahoo.com] .

Cool concept though, and pretty useful for firefighters I'd imagine.

Re:Taking inspiration from the movies (1)

aevan (903814) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219609)

For fighting an actual fire, I wouldn't want to be so precarious. For rescue work though...and how would it hold up under wet conditions, say, a boat?

Re:Taking inspiration from the movies (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219821)

Probably not well at all. A relative sprays geckos with insect spray to make them fall off the ceiling. Since the poison is unlikely to act quickly (or probably not at all on a reptile), it's likely to be the propellant getting under their feet. It's not much good sticking to a liquid instead of the wall under the liquid.

Re:Taking inspiration from the movies (1)

aevan (903814) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220147)

Ah, figured. There goes that idea. Still, likely some unconventional uses for them out there.

Re:Taking inspiration from the movies (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220783)

On the other hand in combination with something that drives liquid away from where you want the stuff to stick may deliver possibilities. Since it's on a microscopic scale combining the fibres that stick on the ends with fibres that wick stuff up, channels for air to flow or whatever may not be hard to do.

It will be good to get some use out of the force that makes the conventional idea of nanomachines difficult or impossible (eg. tiny little gears will stick together instead of working like gears above the micro scale so Drexler's dream isn't happening - it has to be done in a different way which will not look like conventional mechanical devices).

your relative is an asshole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47222901)

you should punch them in the dick.

seriously, spraying poison on geckos? what a shit!

Re:Taking inspiration from the movies (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223547)

I was thinking of the surviving victums of the Twin Towers Event. Could this device be useful to those above the crash site? How about a cable that allows folks to hold on to? I'm not a soldier, but I don't think that climbing glass walls is a typical combat mission; maybe for the specialty missions?

Turds inspire Slashdot Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219069)

The question is, are Slashdot editors ready to eat my fucking turds
the next time my browser is REDIRECTED to Beta ?

You motherfuckers are pushing your luck.

Re:Turds inspire Slashdot Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220655)

Don't like it? Then leave.
You won't be missed.

Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

statemachine (840641) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219119)

*Clang* *Clang* *Clang*

Didn't Mythbusters have an episode on this?

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219149)

I dunno.... did they ever test anything based on Van der Waals force? I remember one where they tested various magnets and suction mechanisms, but did they do another one?

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219287)

There was also walking on water like some lizards and insects do, but no not quite similar.

Van der Waals force isn't exactly a myth though, just a job for materials science.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219351)

A show like mythbusters would examine the general viability of something like a spiderman suit or some other portable wall-scaling device that the average tv watcher is going to understand, not about testing the Van der Waals force specifically.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219649)

does anyone else see the irony of using a Van Der Waals force to climb, wait for it, walls?

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219891)

does anyone else see the irony of using a Van Der Waals force to climb, wait for it, walls?

Van Der Waals? Isn't that just the German translation of an Oasis song?

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220137)

Whatever gave you that off-the-wall idea? You could get much further claiming that it would be the Dutch translation of the Michael Jackson song...

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220561)

It's pronounced "Van der Vahls".

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47221663)

More like "Fun der Vahls", especially if you roll the "r" slightly.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47221819)

Not really. Isn't that the whole point of the exercise?

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47221971)

*pssst* It's not technically irony.

Unfortunately, there is no proper English word for "humorous coincidence which juxtaposes two things", so we all say irony.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (4, Interesting)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219425)

The problem with trying to USE Van der Waals forces for anything is that in order to stick together, both surfaces must be microscopically smooth; the sort of "smooth" that would make plate glass or mirrors look like "volcanic rock under a magnifying glass". "Reflecting telescope mirror" smooth. Making materials that smooth - and KEEPING them that smooth - is going to be a challenge.

As physics, it's pretty neat. From an engineering perspective, it's going to be a problem.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219833)

both surfaces must be microscopically smooth

Not as such - as seen in the summary where geckos are mentioned. One side is made up of a LOT of very smooth surfaces of microscopic size which gets around the problem.

From an engineering perspective, it's going to be a problem

Which has been worked on for decades and is paying off now with a few different things - I think another is called "gecko tape".

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (3, Funny)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220143)

The problem with trying to USE Van der Waals forces for anything is that in order to stick together, both surfaces must be microscopically smooth

Better not tell Geckos about that, they'll die out once they hear.

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (1)

necro81 (917438) | about a month and a half ago | (#47221121)

Better not tell Geckos about that, they'll die out once they hear.

There's a Wile E Coyote reference to be made somewhere...

Re:Uh Oh! Here comes Iron Man (2)

Adriax (746043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219159)

"Thor, the god of thunder, is trying to enter my building!"
-Adam Savage, Season 4 Episode 11

But can you (-1, Flamebait)

rossdee (243626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219203)

save 15% on car insurance

Re:But can you (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220129)

I can save much more than that on car insurance by not having a car.

Re:But can you (-1, Flamebait)

cusco (717999) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224507)

Save 45% by joining AAA.

**Off Topic**

If you ever need towing, call AAA, join the club, and then use the towing feature. It's cheaper than calling a wrecker directly (and you're not dealing with some fly-by-night who may just steal and/or wreck your car), and now you've got access to free maps and frequently better travel deals than you can find online. As AAA members we save enough on insurance to pay for the membership every year.

wow so they stuck it on another trhing (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219231)

or rather its the first thing they stuck it on and the reason they designed it but the articles are coming out in reverse order

http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org]
http://hardware.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]
http://hardware.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]

Breaking Glass (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219335)

I doubt that it is safe to count on most glass not failing under such stress. Climbing concrete or sheet rock might be a better notion.

Re:Breaking Glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220867)

Thanks for the brilliant insight.

Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219415)

So glass loves water and anything else prone to Van der Waals forces.

Good luck with scaling rock or wood or metal.

Re:Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219837)

Once again, watch a gecko or see some video footage of one for an example of this idea in action on wood and metal.

Re:Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a month and a half ago | (#47221557)

My understanding is that the technology works poorly on dusty surfaces, due to the setae sticking to the dust rather than the surface, but the only surface that absolutely won't work is Teflon.

Re:Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224153)

I guess we are lucky that none of the places that our military fights in are dusty....

Re:Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a month and a half ago | (#47229405)

Holy crap, it doesn't work RIGHT NOW! In CERTAIN SITUATIONS! Abandon all development!

Re:Glass is incredibly hydrophilic (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a month ago | (#47248797)

Holy crap, some things become usable after development! EVERYTHING must become usable after development!

Yeah yeah DARPA (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219433)

We know about the "research" leading to this - we all saw "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" too.

On belay (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | about a month and a half ago | (#47219595)

Despite the purported difficulty with rock and this technology, I believe rock climbing will never be the same.

Re:On belay (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220383)

It sounds like you are caught between a rock and a hard place to me!

Re:On belay (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220569)

Weight goes up as the cube of size while area goes up as the square, which is one reason there are no 2 meter geckos.

Re:On belay (1)

necro81 (917438) | about a month and a half ago | (#47221237)

which is one reason there are no 2 meter geckos

Only in my nightmares...

Re:On belay (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223027)

well, not any more, since i shot them all in the eyes.

How do they keep clean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219995)

To me, the greatest wonder is that the Gecko's feet do not get dirty and I have never observed them licking their feet to clean them.

So why are their feet not permanently coated in crud?

Re:How do they keep clean? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a month ago | (#47241861)

I suspect the paddles will be 'battle-field ready' once they figure that out...

'not battlefield-ready yet' (4, Funny)

jasontheking (124650) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220001)

Does 'not battlefield-ready yet' mean that grenades stick to the hand and won't let go? or mortar rounds, plane wings, tank tracks, pants...

Re:'not battlefield-ready yet' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220481)

No it means that once you take the paddles out from cover, they are so full of dust that you can't use them anymore.

This isn't a new innovation or new product. People have done these with on-market products what are used to hold your smartphones, wallets etc on car dashboard etc. They are size of 7x12cm and cheap as hell. All what you need to do is to stitch one to glow and add glue to secure it and you have this amazing "spider man" capability to climb up glass wall.

The real problem is, there is no glass walls what can hold heavy weight as they get shattered to pieces and typical walls are made from totally different material and they usually have a ladders on them or something similar.

And if you have squad of 4-men you can climb up over 7 meter heights faster than using these paddles.

Re:'not battlefield-ready yet' (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220539)

my first thought was along the lines of so not battlefield ready is it thief ready? will some thieves use these to break into buildings?i there a movie about it yet?

Re:'not battlefield-ready yet' (1)

pastafazou (648001) | about a month and a half ago | (#47221771)

I think the real problem will be finding a battlefield full of glass walls in order to make these really useful...

Re:'not battlefield-ready yet' (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222971)

not a problem at all, the US government has decided its biggest enemy is The People

Gecko feet? Does it create webs? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220229)

If yes, it's probably just Tim Berners-Lee in disguise.

This was on Gizmag yesterday as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47220419)

... like half of the stories on Slashdot.

Re:This was on Gizmag yesterday as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47222639)

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @10:06PM

This was on Gizmag yesterday as well... (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @05:32AM (#47220419)

Then why didn't you complain about it yesterday?

Only 100kg (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a month and a half ago | (#47220617)

"In a recent test, a man weighing almost 100 kg (220 lbs) "

They've got a way to go before it can support your average fat american then. But then I suppose if you need to get one of those land whales up the side of a building you'd use a crane anyway.

Re:Only 100kg (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223051)

reading comprehension fail, 270lbs. 100 kg + 50lbs of gear.

learn to do math, or did they not educate you in the numbers?

**whoosh!** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47225237)

I believe Viol8 is suggesting that "average fat american" exceeds that total amount.

Re: Only 100kg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224413)

Cranky about something?

Gecko Paddles?? (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223223)

Can these Gecko Paddles save us 15% on our car insurance in 15 minutes?

Oh wait, this is not how any of this works! I can save more in half the time.

"You are never too old, too wacky, too wild
to pick up a book and read to a child" - Dr. Seuss

Re:Gecko Paddles?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47225273)

I unstick you !!

Funny how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224113)

Funny how they didn't mention how well the guy can climb something other than a glass wall, like what you might encounter in a warzone, like a brick or adobe wall. I'm guessing that just a little water or dust on the surface might be enough to make the adhesives not grab at all.

possible dupe from 2001 (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | about a month and a half ago | (#47225029)

tech.slashdot.org/story/01/05/17/1452217/scaling-walls-with-suction-cups

Confusing headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47228247)

So a reptile inspired a device inspired by a superhero empowered by a spider?

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