Science & Technology
Scientists rule out real-life Spider-Man
January 20, 2016 | 10 comments
Could Spider-Man really climb up walls ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Roger Murmann
Climbing up a vertical wall like the popular Marvel superhero would actually require size 114 feet.
Spider-Man might be able to do whatever a spider can in the comics, but when it comes to realism it turns out that the masked web-slinger is ill-equipped to tackle even the simplest of obstacles.
While it is possible to have hands and feet that can stick to walls, to be able to support his own weight on a vertical surface Spidey would need hands measuring 43 inches across.
The revelation is based on the findings of University of Cambridge zoologist David Labonte and animal ecophysiology lecturer Christofer Clemente who cataloged 225 different species of frogs, insects and lizards that have the ability to climb up vertical walls.
"There really are two options if you want to get big and you still want to stick to a wall," said Dr Clemente. "You can either get relatively bigger pads, so the pads that you have need to increase in size relative to your body or the pads you have, have to get stickier."
The researchers are hoping that their findings will aid in the future development of robots capable of climbing up walls - something that could prove invaluable in disaster recovery operations where the ability to scramble up the side of a partially collapsed building could help to save lives.
"We probably want something that's a bit bigger than a gecko but a bit smaller than a human," said Dr Clemente. "And so that's where the sort of practical applications for this sort of research can really lead us down."
Source: Brisbane Times
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