A group of engineers at Utah State University have just been awarded a $100,000 grant by the Air Force for their vacuum climbing backpack. The PVAC, or personal vacuum assisted climber, allows a person to climb just about any wall thanks to two extremely powerful suction paddles.
The “Ascending Aggies” team uses two suction paddles powered by a large vacuum. The paddles can grip to just about any surface, allowing a person to climb up the side of a building. According to PC World, the PVAC is powerful enough to hold up 500 to 700 pounds.
The device could be useful for stealth mission. A soldier could scale a wall using the PVAC then lower ropes for the rest of the troop to follow. The device works, but at the moment it may not be practical since it’s still pretty loud.
But despite the drawback of noise, the PVAC won a recent wall-climbing competition held by the Air Force. The Ascending Aggies beat out 33 other teams and won a $100,000 grant to put the finishing touches on the PVAC.
Here’s a video of the PVAC in action.
According to PC World, the team’s next challenge is to reduce the amount of noise that the PVAC makes. They also hope to reduce the weight and make it more power efficient.
What do you think of the vacuum climber?