Scientists Have Created Spider-Man Gloves That Enable You to Scale a Building [VIDEO]
Engineers at Stanford have done a cool thing. They've built Spider-Man gloves—gloves that enable a grown man to crawl up the side of a glass building.
The breakthrough is not rooted in how spiders can climb straight up walls, however, but in a very different animal: a gecko. (Yeah, like the Geico pitchman with the ambiguous accent.) Geckos have really sticky feet, and these highly specialized gloves are built to mimic them.
The research team was led by Elliott Hawkes, who explained a bit about how things work: "The surface you're climbing needs to be relatively smooth; like glass, varnished wood, polished stone, or metal. But you can attach and detach with very little effort, and to make [the gloves] stick all you have to do is hang your weight."
Now, the gloves aren't perfect or anything. It certainly looks pretty slow-going at this point, but that's not really the point—at least not yet. After all, even geckos don't fully utilize their padded feet in the most efficient ways. But as Eric Eason, an engineer who worked on the project, says, "Perfection is not something that evolution or biological systems really care about." Still, this is a massively innovative first step in the process.
These gloves may not be available for purchase this holiday season, but they're definitely going on our future Amazon Wish List. Below is a clip of the gloves in action (and you can read the entire published study here):