If you're in need of a good case of vertigo, just Google the term "rock
climbing bivy." Essentially, it's a narrow cot that a mountain climber
fastens to a cliff face, where they proceed to precariously spend the
night dangling above oblivion. Although you might not want to push
things quite that far, you can now get the same sort of thrill – but in a safer, more comfortable fashion – by staying in one of Natura Vive's three Skylodge Adventure Suites.
Moving between the levels of a building is not something people tend to think of as anything other than perfunctory. We rarely think, for example, about whether our going upstairs or downstairs is adequately fun. A new installation at Austria's OK Center for Contemporary Art, however, has made it so.
Geckos are likely better climbers than any other animal, so it's no surprise that a number of researchers have tried to copy that ability
via man-made technology. One group, from Stanford University, was particularly successful with a small climbing robot known as the Stickybot
. Four years ago, we heard about how they were also looking into applying the Stickybot tech to a system that would allow humans to climb up vertical surfaces. Now, DARPA has announced the first successful demonstration of that system, known as Z-Man.
You no longer need a mountain or sheer cliff face to enjoy the thrill and challenge of technical climbing. Rock gyms have sprouted up across cities and suburbs around the world, providing a climbing option for those that don't have access to mountains. These gyms don't usually look anything like real rock, but a German company has a plan to construct climbing "mountains" out of an artificial material that it says looks and feels like the real thing.
Cultured arachnid fans are in for a treat with a new artwork from Vienna-based collective Numen. String is a 3D grid of ropes suspended within a huge inflated cube. Users can enter the exhibit and clamber their way around its intricate mesh in a blank and disorientating environment.
So, yep, a performance-monitoring device for yet another
sport has been created. Just in the past 30 days alone, we've heard about new gadgets to help athletes improve their basketball
skills. Now, a University of Newcastle tech spin-off has announced a system known as ClimbAX – and as its name implies, it's designed for climbers.
Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex
robot some Parkour moves.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Kamata lab
are working on a new wheeled robotic vehicle that can climb stairs. Called the NOBOROT, it uses a proximity sensor to detect when it is next to a step and is able to maintain a level posture while ascending and descending to ensure a smooth ride.
Once a relatively lesser known member of the animal kingdom, the honey badger rose to infamy last year, becoming a legend among critters. It's not all that surprising to see the animal referenced in a product name, especially one designed to bring some of the animal's tenacity and ferocity to the outdoors. The new Honey Badger backpack may not survive an all out attack by a honey badger, but it'll survive all kinds of other adventures.
Indoor climbing gyms have brought the sport of rock climbing into the indoor spaces of dense, boulder-less cities, where traditional rock climbing would be impossible. The next generation of indoor climbing seems to be focused on cramming climbing equipment into even smaller spaces. The case in point is the Rotor dynamic wall from Climblock, which replaces the vertical wall with a rotating drum.