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The Military

Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles 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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Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles

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  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:44AM (#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".

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984