Scientists Figure Out How To Scale Walls Like Spider-Man

If you’re a big Spider-Man fan, you’re going to love this: A team of researchers at Stanford has developed a way to scale glass walls using pads that attach to a person’s hands.

It’s kind of like the webbed wonder, but a little less slick than this:

The team is part of Stanford’s Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory, a research group that previously created vertically climbing robots. The inspiration behind the design was not actually Spider-Man, but the gecko, which is able to climb up a variety of surfaces using what are known as van der Waals forces.

To replicate these electric forces, the Stanford team created hexagon-shaped pads about the size of pingpong paddles. They then covered them in tiny tiles made from polydimethylsiloxane — a silicon material commonly found in water-repellant coatings. The material itself isn’t actually sticky like tape or glue.

Like a gecko’s toes, the tiles have tiny nanofibers that make the pads strong enough to cling to glass surfaces. Flexible springs behind the tiles help to distribute the weight.

gecko inspired gloves
The cable system (left), loaded springs (center) and back of each pad (right) of the system for climbing glass —> Read More Here


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