Another day, another secure facility to infiltrate. Life as a commando is tough—especially when you get stuck with your back up against a wall. Your jet pack’s at the cleaners, you left your grappling hook in your other pants, radioactive spiders are hibernating this time of year…as you run through your wall-scaling options, you’re about to give up, until you remember your handy “vertical ascender” pack! Powerful enough to carry 300 pounds, the device uses vacuum suction to turn a human into a wall-crawler.
In fact, you’re not sure how you forgot you were carrying it in the first place: it’s bulky, heavy, and makes a racket like a vacuum cleaner.
The vertical ascender, built by Utah State University’s “Ascending Aggies” team, won an Air Force contest to design a device that will turn members of the Special Forces into Spidermen, at least long enough for them to reach the top of a 90-foot wall. Tubes attach the battery-powered vacuum in the backpack to the pads worn on the hands, allowing suction to seal the pads, and their wearer, to the wall. With 30 minutes of battery life, the vertical ascender had more than enough juice for the required wall climb (but not, perhaps, for anything much longer). Now, all the team needs to do is reduce the device’s size and weight—and maybe turn down the volume.
Here’s a look at the vertical ascender from another angle: