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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 kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <kenwd0elq@engineer.com> on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @11:46PM (#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.

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