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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Nature Inspires Mountain Climber to Scale Building Using Draper’s Device

The BBC’s Children's series Beyond Bionic’s Andy Torbet puts the Z-Man climbing system to the test

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Action adventurer Andy Torbet matched the super-skills of nature’s most fearless climber—the gecko—in a breath-taking climb up the glass exterior of a tall office building. Torbet did it using Draper’s Z-Man climbing system, inspired by the gecko. Key to the gecko’s ability to climb is the unique structure of the pads on its feet.

Torbet climbed the EF Education First building, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the BBC Children's television series “Beyond Bionic.” 

Draper’s Z-Man system for wall-climbing uses pistons, suction cups and a gecko skin-like surface that is small, compact and can enable a person to climb glass and other surfaces that would otherwise be very challenging to scale. The device’s size and mobility also enables a climber to scale surfaces and climb in conditions that most wall-climbing solutions cannot match, according to David Carter, a developer of Draper’s Z-Man system.

“By its nature, climbing a wall is a challenge for humans, but with Draper’s Z-Man climbing system, we have a vivid demonstration of a real-world test for this new technology,” Carter said. He added that Draper is actively seeking commercial partners for the next important steps in bringing this Z-Man climbing system to customers who can use it—from licensing through production to distribution and market introduction.

Under the Z-Man program, Draper developed and delivered two other solutions, including SpineHold and MagnetoHold, which benefited from Draper’s cross-discipline team of engineers, scientists and designers. Draper’s SpineHold system supports reversible attachment to rough, flat surfaces such as concrete block. Draper’s MagnetoHold system supports weight suspended from any magnetic surface.

Action adventurer Andy Torbet tries out Draper's Z-Man climbing system before scaling the glass exterior of EF's 10 story building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Z-Man co-developer David Carter, of Draper, instructs Andy Torbet on the finer points of the Z-Man climbing system. Andy Torbet matched the super-skills of nature’s most fearless climber--the gecko--to climb a tall office building using Draper's Z-Man system for the BBC program "Beyond Bionic." Under the Z-Man program, Draper developed and delivered systems for climbing glass, concrete block and magnetic surfaces. Draper’s Z-Man system for wall-climbing uses pistons, suction cups and a gecko skin-like surface that can enable a person to climb glass and other surfaces that would otherwise be very challenging to scale. Draper is actively seeking commercial partners for the next important steps in bringing the Z-Man climbing system to customers who can use it.
Capabilities Used
Human-Centered Solutions

Draper has continued to advance the understanding and application of human-centered engineering to optimize the interaction and capabilities of the human’s ability to better understand, assimilate and convey information for critical decisions and tasks. Through its Human-Centered Solutions capability, Draper enables accomplishment of users’ most critical missions by seamlessly integrating technology into a user’s workflow. This work leverages human-computer interaction through emerging findings in applied psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Draper has deep skills in the design, development, and deployment of systems to support cognition – for users seated at desks, on the move with mobile devices or maneuvering in the cockpit of vehicles – and collaboration across human-human and human-autonomous teams.

Materials Engineering & Microfabrication

Draper continues to develop its expertise in designing, characterizing and processing materials at the macro-, micro- and nanoscales. Understanding the physical properties and behaviors of materials at these various scales is vital to exploit them successfully in designing components or systems. This enables the development and integration of biomaterials, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, wafer fabrication, chemical and electrochemical materials and structural materials for application to system-level solutions required of government and commercial sponsors.

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