Utah State Students Transform $20,000 USAF Grant into Functional Wall-Climbing Suit

Students at Utah State University have won first prize in a military contest to create a device that would let soldiers climb a wall without grappling hooks or rope.

Yep, it’s pretty much just like that – just a bit more high tech. The suit uses high-powered vacuums and special foam form-fitting hand pads to keep a soldier glued to a wall. The gadget is clunky, noisy, and looks ridiculous, but it works! Or, as mechanical engineering student Garrett Vaughan described, “It sucked just fine.”

As effective as it is, it’s still got a few kinks to work out. Another student, Steven Daniels, told KSL, “It’s heavier than we wanted, there’s some issues, but it works. We’ve tested it as much as we could.”

The students will have another chance to perfect their design. As the winners of the competition, they will get an additional $50,000 from the Air Force and will complete for another $100,000.

Students and professors speculate that once they get a more feasible model up and running, a vacuum climbing suit could be used for a variety of functions, from rescues to covert ops. Before they get that far, though, they’re going to have to figure out a way to muffle that annoying vacuum noise. Nothing says stealth like, “VVRRRRRRR.”

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