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Enter Z-Man

Neglect ropes, ladders, and superpowers. Engineers at Draper Laboratory are working on a task for that military that could allow soldiers to imitate the wall-climbing ability of Spider-Man - and the glass-clinging strength of Gecko-Man, if only such a superhero existed.
Enter Z-Man, the progeny of the Cambridge laboratory and a federal agency born within the Cold War to maintain US military technology a step ahead of the Soviets.
The task is too sensitive to become talked about openly, but as well exciting to be kept a top secret. So the engineers developing it gave the public a peek at the technology at the Very first Robotics Competition, a competition of student-built, soccer-playing robots that drew thousands to Boston University Agganis Arena.
Beyond the mechanical goal-scoring, the colorfully outfitted undergraduate challengers, and also the boisterous cheering crowds of people, the Draper exhibit occupied a quiet corner from the concourse.
Set up around the bend from a pizza stand and beneath an action shot of former BU great Harry Agganis in his football uniform, the Z-Man engineers wowed passersby with two prototypes of the climbing technologies.
One imitates the microscopic bumps a gecko uses to adhere to smooth surfaces via a power recognized as the van der Waals interaction; the other uses rows of freely moving fish hooks to grab the minuscule nooks and crannies in concrete and bricks, not unlike the way a spider climbs.
Small barbell weights dangled from the hand-sized prototypes, one attached to glass, the other to a cement. The team from Draper, a Cambridge not for profit lab that largely conducts research and development for that government, was not permitted to say whether they had been successful in creating pads which will permit a soldier with combat load to scale a 25-foot wall in 15 seconds.
Those are the capabilities envisioned in the scant particulars concerning the project found in unclassified documents about the website of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was created in 1958 after the surprise Soviet launch of Sputnik to keep the US military about the cutting edge of technologies.
Among the main sponsors from the Boston Regional Very first Robotics tournament, Draper decided to offer this uncommon peek into the Z-Man Program to excite the pupils in attendance with one of the coolest “out of all the crazy cool things that Draper does, said Ellen Avery, Draper’s community relations manager, speaking over the crashing robot sounds from the arena.
But being a semisecret defense project, the Z-Man display was consequently vague and limited. Carter spoke about the physics behind the technologies, being a colleague exhibited how very easily the prototypes attached and came off the vertical surfaces.
That at least proposed that peoples hands or feet can use the technologies to scale vertical surfaces the same way - if Draper pads can be modified to handle the weight of a human. And if they can, look out for Z-Man.

Neglect ropes, ladders, and superpowers. Engineers at Draper Laboratory are working on a task for that military that could allow soldiers to imitate the wall-climbing ability of Spider-Man - and the glass-clinging strength of Gecko-Man, if only such a superhero existed.

Enter Z-Man, the progeny of the Cambridge laboratory and a federal agency born within the Cold War to maintain US military technology a step ahead of the Soviets.

The task is too sensitive to become talked about openly, but as well exciting to be kept a top secret. So the engineers developing it gave the public a peek at the technology at the Very first Robotics Competition, a competition of student-built, soccer-playing robots that drew thousands to Boston University Agganis Arena.

Beyond the mechanical goal-scoring, the colorfully outfitted undergraduate challengers, and also the boisterous cheering crowds of people, the Draper exhibit occupied a quiet corner from the concourse.

Set up around the bend from a pizza stand and beneath an action shot of former BU great Harry Agganis in his football uniform, the Z-Man engineers wowed passersby with two prototypes of the climbing technologies.

One imitates the microscopic bumps a gecko uses to adhere to smooth surfaces via a power recognized as the van der Waals interaction; the other uses rows of freely moving fish hooks to grab the minuscule nooks and crannies in concrete and bricks, not unlike the way a spider climbs.

Small barbell weights dangled from the hand-sized prototypes, one attached to glass, the other to a cement. The team from Draper, a Cambridge not for profit lab that largely conducts research and development for that government, was not permitted to say whether they had been successful in creating pads which will permit a soldier with combat load to scale a 25-foot wall in 15 seconds.

Those are the capabilities envisioned in the scant particulars concerning the project found in unclassified documents about the website of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was created in 1958 after the surprise Soviet launch of Sputnik to keep the US military about the cutting edge of technologies.

Among the main sponsors from the Boston Regional Very first Robotics tournament, Draper decided to offer this uncommon peek into the Z-Man Program to excite the pupils in attendance with one of the coolest “out of all the crazy cool things that Draper does, said Ellen Avery, Draper community relations manager, speaking over the crashing robot sounds from the arena.

But being a semisecret defense project, the Z-Man display was consequently vague and limited. Carter spoke about the physics behind the technologies, being a colleague exhibited how very easily the prototypes attached and came off the vertical surfaces.

That at least proposed that peoples hands or feet can use the technologies to scale vertical surfaces the same way - if Draper pads can be modified to handle the weight of a human. And if they can, look out for Z-Man.

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