DARPA’s Z-Man Makes Spiderman a Reality
Sorry, the kid inside me just wanted to get his emotions out. If you were close to me when I heard the news, you would have lost your hearing for a while, like my fellow mates did. Now this is what me and my kind have been waiting for. Z-man is in the house!
The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has created a pair of paddles that lets anybody climb glass walls. You can’t shoot webs though, so maybe this may be closer to what Tom Cruise used to scale the massive Burj Al-Kalifah in Dubai in Mission Impossible 4.
With the Z-man, a 99 KG climber was able to climb and descend a 7.6 meter vertical glass wall. In one trial the climber carried 22.6 KG’s of extra weight too.
The inspiration for the design comes from the Gecko. Geckos are cute little lizards who come in all kinds of colors and have an annoying voice which gives them their name. Come to think of it, they are pretty self-obsessed calling out their own names all day long. Listen to this and tell me it’s not annoying to hear:
Coming back to the how they inspired DARPA, is their expertise in climbing almost any surface in the world. They have tiny bristles on their feets called Satae which give them the ability to stick on anything they desire from living room walls to even the walls of International Space Station. This adhesive property doesn’t need any kind of liquid and is also self-cleaning. It can literally balance its entire body on one toe. This ability is present in almost 60% of Gecko species.
The military had one major issue with climbing technology. It’s old, really old. Ropes have been used by combatants for thousands of years and are still being used today. A bit of investment in these would have made life easier for thousands of warriors, instead of making useless and extremely expensive Nuclear weapons.
Z-man takes inspiration from the natural forces and with the help of nanotechnology and bio mechanics to give Gecko-like ability to humans. There will also be everyday uses of the technology. This can be used by Glass cleaners in offices around the world. DARPA is working for more consumer intergration of the technology too.
Z-man currently is a work in progress and it will take a while to fully induct the technology in the armed forces. This might be a boon during urban combat.
If we get technologies like this right, we can handle situations like a Chitauri Invasion without the Avengers. But yes can we please have real life Avengers already? Come on DARPA, why don’t we have a real-life Captain America or Spiderman already?