Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ROBO SPACE
DARPA Z-Man Program Demonstrates Human Climbing Like Geckos
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 09, 2014


During testing, an operator climbed 25 feet vertically on a glass surface using no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles. The climber wore, but did not require, the use of a safety belay. Image courtesy DARPA.

DARPA's Z-Man program has demonstrated the first known human climbing of a glass wall using climbing devices inspired by geckos. The historic ascent involved a 218-pound climber ascending and descending 25 feet of glass, while also carrying an additional 50-pound load in one trial, with no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles.

The novel polymer microstructure technology used in those paddles was developed for DARPA by Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass. Historically, gaining the high ground has always been an operational advantage for warfighters, but the climbing instruments on which they're frequently forced to rely-tools such as ropes and ladders-have not advanced significantly for millennia.

Not only can the use of such tools be overt and labor intensive, they also only allow for sequential climbing whereby the first climber often takes on the highest risk.

DARPA created the Z-Man program to overcome these limitations and deliver maximum safety and flexibility for maneuver and rapid response to warfighters operating in tight urban environments. The goal of the program is to develop biologically inspired climbing aids to enable warfighters carrying a full combat load to scale vertical walls constructed from typical building materials.

"The gecko is one of the champion climbers in the Animal Kingdom, so it was natural for DARPA to look to it for inspiration in overcoming some of the maneuver challenges that U.S. forces face in urban environments," said Dr. Matt Goodman, the DARPA program manager for Z-Man.

"Like many of the capabilities that the Department of Defense pursues, we saw with vertical climbing that nature had long since evolved the means to efficiently achieve it. The challenge to our performer team was to understand the biology and physics in play when geckos climb and then reverse-engineer those dynamics into an artificial system for use by humans."

Geckos can climb on a wide variety of surfaces, including smooth surfaces like glass, with adhesive pressures of 15-30 pounds per square inch for each limb, meaning that a gecko can hang its entire body by one toe.

The anatomy of a gecko toe consists of a microscopic hierarchical structure composed of stalk-like setae (100 microns in length, 2 microns in radius). From individual setae, a bundle of hundreds of terminal tips called spatulae (approximately 200 nanometers in diameter at their widest) branch out and contact the climbing surface.

A gecko is able to climb on glass by using physical bond interactions-specifically van der Waals intermolecular forces-between the spatulae and a surface to adhere reversibly, resulting in easy attachment and removal of the gecko's toes from the surface.

The van der Waals mechanism implied that it is the size and shape of the spatulae tips that affect adhesive performance, not specific surface chemistry. This suggested that there were design principles and physical models derived from nature that might enable scientists to fabricate an adhesive inspired by gecko toes.

Humans, of course, have much more weight to carry than a gecko. One of the initial challenges in developing a device to support human climbing was the issue of scaling: a typical Tokay gecko weighs 200 grams, while an average human male weighs 75 kilograms.

To enable dynamic climbing like a gecko at this larger scale required that the engineers create climbing paddles capable of balancing sufficient adhesive forces in both the shear (parallel to the vertical surface) and normal (perpendicular to the vertical surface) directions. That feature is necessary for a climber to remain adhered on a surface without falling off while in the act of attaching and detaching the paddles with each movement.

The Draper Laboratory team was also challenged to create novel micro- and nanofabrication technologies to produce the high-aspect-ratio microstructures found in the gecko toe.

In the process of achieving that capability, the Z-Man performers transformed the fundamental design and development of reversible adhesives for potential biomedical, industrial, and consumer applications.

The first human climbing demonstration occurred in February 2012 and tests of the technology are ongoing.

.


Related Links
?Z Man at DARPA
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROBO SPACE
Chatty Japan robot makes friends on first day at work
Tokyo (AFP) June 06, 2014
A chatty humanoid robot whose makers claim it can understand people's emotions made its first friends Friday as it struck up conversations with shoppers in Tokyo. And the device - named Pepper by its designers - proved an effective marketing tool for mobile carrier SoftBank, delighting managers who put it to work collecting customer opinions. "So you came to meet me today?" asked Peppe ... read more


ROBO SPACE
NASA Missions Let Scientists See Moon's Dancing Tide From Orbit

Earth's gravitational pull stretches moon surface

Water in moon rocks provides clues and questions about lunar history

NASA Invites Public to Select Favorite Moon Image for Lunar Orbiter Anniversary Collection

ROBO SPACE
Rover Corrects its Spacecraft Clock

NASA Should Maintain Long-Term Focus on Mars as "Horizon Goal"

NASA's human spaceflight program doomed to fail: study

LDSD Testing for Large Payloads to Mars

ROBO SPACE
One docking ring to rule them all

CU-Boulder payload selected for launch on Virgin Galactic spaceship

NASA And Virgin Galactic Select Payloads For First Research Flight

NASA Invites Universities to Submit Innovative Technology Proposals

ROBO SPACE
Chinese lunar rover alive but weak

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Chinese space team survives on worm diet for 105 days

Moon rover Yutu comes closer to public

ROBO SPACE
Russia, US resume talks on new joint projects for ISS

Russian Soyuz with New Crew Docks at ISS in Automatic Mode

Russian, German and US astronauts dock with ISS

Six-Person Station Crew Enjoys Day Off Following Docking

ROBO SPACE
Roscosmos Scolded for 'Pestering Society' with Proton Crash Theories

SpaceX unveils capsule to ferry astronauts to space

Elon Musk to present manned DragonV2 spacecraft on May 29

Russia puts satellite in orbit from sea platform after 2013 flop

ROBO SPACE
Two planets orbit nearby ancient star

Astronomers find a new type of planet: The 'mega-Earth'

Because you can't eat just one: Star will swallow two planets

'Neapolitan' exoplanets come in three flavors

ROBO SPACE
Lockheed system to help track orbiting space objects

Stronger than steel

Researchers predict electrical response of metals to extreme pressure

Pitt team first to detect exciton in metal




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.