USU team's Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber wins Air Force prize (w/ Video)

Jun 15, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- Utah State University engineering undergraduate students have walked off as winners in an Air Force competition asking university teams to deliver systems that can help climbers reach the top of a 90-foot wall. Their wall crawler is designed to help commandos scale tall structures without having to depend on helpers like grappling hooks. The winning device uses vacuum suction to get the wall-climber to the top. The students call their device Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber, or PVAC.

Air Force pararescue jumpers tested 17 university teams entries on a 90-foot concrete silo in Calamityville, Ohio. They concluded that the Utah system was the best to win the Air Force Research Laboratory’s annual Design Challenge.

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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) challenge for 2012 went looking for teams that could deliver ascending devices that could be faster and easier to use than current techniques. The system had to be under 20 pounds. The goal that was set was to get four soldiers up a 90-foot structure in 20 minutes with such a device. The gave each team $20,000 and nine months to develop a solution. The winning device can haul at least 300 pounds.(A team member quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune, though, said calculations showed the ascender able to hold anywhere between 500 to 700 pounds, depending on the altitude.)

“The biggest challenge was to have a big enough pressure differential and a good enough seal to hold them to the wall," said team leader T.J. Morton.

Each ascender is battery-powered and is designed to operate for about 30 minutes. The system involves handheld suction pads, to provide enough suction top get at least 300 pounds over the wall. Tubes attach the battery-powered vacuum in the backpack to the pads worn on the hands, allowing suction to seal the pads, and the person, to the wall.

USU’s College of Engineering now has the job of improving the current design. Doing so will secure them a $100,000 grant. The improvements call for a system that can minimize size, reduce weight, and involve far less noise. The USU team responsible for the Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber included 15 mechanical and aerospace engineering seniors.

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User comments : 16

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Vendicar_Decarian
2.5 / 5 (8) Jun 15, 2012
Sux
packrat
1 / 5 (1) Jun 15, 2012
It got him up the wall. It sounded like they used shop vac fans though... A lot of quieter versions out there....
Skepticus
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2012
USUs College of Engineering now has the job of improving the current design. Doing so will secure them a $100,000 grant. The improvements call for a system that can minimize size, reduce weight, and involve far less noise."
Good luck with that. Any high speed turbine-type sucker such as in typical vac device) will stall and make quite a ruckus as their inlet pressure head falls from the suction cups sticking to the wall. I would suggest positive displacement pumps.
hyongx
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2012
this is awesome
Mastoras
5 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2012
It was a silent morning in a forest somewhere in India. Buddha was sitting under the shade of a tree, when a disciple came walking to him and waited for Buddha to return from the galaxy of Andromeda. Shortly after, Buddha came back, and looked at the disciple.

Master, said he, after 29 years of meditation, I have managed to cross the river by walking on the water.

Well, said the Buddha, that is nice. But why dont you use a boat? Meditating so long just to go across by walking on the water, is like climbing a wall with suction pads, when you can stop the policy of fighting everyone, then not having to use a helicopter, and taking the stairs instead.
-.
Richardmcsquared
3 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2012
That was terrible, what a waste of a vacuum cleaner
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (4) Jun 16, 2012
still sux
MalcS
not rated yet Jun 16, 2012
Been done before in 2009 on BBC TV show Bang goes the theory Episode 3 series 1
aironeous
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2012
When will this be at toysRus for 3 year olds to climb up mommy and daddys back?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2012
Well, said the Buddha, that is nice...when you can stop the policy of fighting everyone, then not having to use a helicopter, and taking the stairs instead.
Hey did you know buddhists are slaughtering moslems in myanmar?

"(Reuters) - Deep-seated anger and fear smolder between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in the aftermath of the worst sectarian clashes in Myanmar in years, raising concerns that a fragile peace may not last long."
http://www.reuter...20120616

-Apparently buddhists have in the past slaughtered hundreds of thousands of moslems. This is because buddhism is a typical religion which requires this sort of thing from adherents from time to time. And, like all the rest, it requires adherents to try to out-reproduce the competition, who are in turn trying to do the exact same thing to them.

And this is why we have to fight to protect ourselves from all this bullshit. Its true - ask buddha. Hes smart.
Musashi
not rated yet Jun 16, 2012
Stealthy...
trekgeek1
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2012
I'm usually not pessimistic when it comes to inventions, but this seems too simple and dull to win any prize.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2012
Sux


Do better...
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2012
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2012
I think you are confusing "better" for "the same exact thing".
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2012
I think you are confusing "better" for "the same exact thing".
I think you are confusing 'same exact thing' with 'shameless copy'. Looks like both brits were first. First IS better, legally.