The U.S. military organized the Air Force Research Laboratory Design Challenge earlier this year in a bid to have designers come up with ways to make scaling walls easier for their soldier. The PVAC Design by Ascending Aggies won the award and we must say that the vacuum backpack with suction gloves does look like it can challenge Spiderman’s wall-climbing prowess. The Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber AKA the PVAC is designed to allow solider of all shapes and sizes to climb up walls and other solid vertical surfaces made of glass, brick, concrete etc.
More than 33 teams entered the Air Force contest which asked them to design a viable design that would let four soldiers climb up a really steep wall with as little effort as possible. The “Ascending Aggies” team from Utah State University won first place and demonstrated their design by having a soldier sale the west-end wall of the Dean F. Peterson Engineering Building. The design basically comprises of two suction cups, a support system and a vacuum backpack that lets the user create a seal when the suction pads are pushed onto a climbing surface.
The suction pads grip the wall as the user presses them onto the wall though they are released with the same apparent ease to make moving them easier for the user. The best part about the design is that it allows the users to hang from it hands-free also which means that a solider can let go of the suction pads and use his weapons or use their communicator devices or even use navigators etc while hanging high up on a vertical surface. The award-wining design, however, is still far from being perfect since it is almost as noisy as a household vacuum cleaner and is still quite heavy as well. However, the Air Force has given the team a $100,000 fund to further improve the design though the team has not yet stated whether the design would be made available to the general public or not. Watch the PVAC being demoed by a soldier in the video below.