Some students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a rope climbing device that is able to carry 250 pounds, moving up the rope at 10 feet per second. Not quite impressed? Imagine that the little gizmo will be able to reduce the time that a fire-fighter needs to reach the top of a 30-story building from 6 minutes to just 30 seconds.
The device was featured on the Technology Review magazine with a quite suitable title: “A Tool Worth of Batman’s Utility Belt”. Here is a quote from the article “The Atlas rope climber can be attached at any point along a rope–a rescue worker could get onto a line from a second-story window, for example. It takes about 10 seconds to wrap the rope three times around the capstan. The climbing device can’t shoot a rope up to the top of a building, but Ball says the army already uses grappling hooks to set ropes that soldiers must then climb by hand.”
The key insight to build the rope climber was based on the idea of wraping the rope around a cylinder with many turns, which increases the grip strength drastically without damaging the rope. The students founded a company called Atlas Devices, and they already have a contract to supply the U.S. Army.
Via: Technology Review