New ‘Spider-Man’ Gloves Let People Scale Walls

Gloves that let you climb glass walls? Yep, they exist. They’re being called “Real Spiderman Climbing Gloves” but we think they should really be called “Geckoman Gloves.”

Researchers at Stanford University have successfully applied “gecko technology” to gloves — that is, applied the same science that allows geckos to climb walls onto a pair of gloves that humans wear. This new tech does the unthinkable, allowing a person to climb a vertical glass surface like The Amazing Spider-man himself… albeit at a much slower pace, and with bars in between the hands and feet so that the correct amount of pressure is applies so that the person doesn’t fall.

“It’s a lot of fun, but also a little weird, because it doesn’t feel like you should be gripping glass,” said Elliot Hawkes, a mechanical engineering graduate student who worked with a team of engineers to develop the gloves. “You keep expecting to slip off, and when you don’t, it surprises you. It’s pretty exhilarating.” According to the Stanford article:

Each gecko pad is covered with 24 adhesive tiles, and each of these is covered with sawtooth-shape polymer structures each 100 micrometers long (about the width of a human hair).

The pads are connected to special degressive springs, which become less stiff the further they are stretched. This characteristic means that when the springs are pulled upon, they apply an identical force to each adhesive tile and cause the sawtooth-like structures to flatten.

“When the pad first touches the surface, only the tips touch, so it’s not sticky,” said co-author Eric Eason, a graduate student in applied physics. “But when the load is applied, and the wedges turn over and come into contact with the surface, that creates the adhesion force.”

Blah, blah, blah. Our question: Will these be available in time for Halloween 2015?

Check out the video above showing the pads in action.