Magnetic climbing

edited February 2015 in Magnets
Using a thing layer of magnet and placing it under the tissue of your hand around your fingers and on your palm you'd think that wouldn't be possible to climb a wall like Spider-man although it is very possible with today's technology we could very likely have a widespread industry that could be of use to the military and for personal use.


  • And by wall I mean metal surfaces
  • Aren't we too heavy?
  • you'd have better luck with the gecko material they created a while back stuck to your hands and even still climbing would be a bitch. magnets slip around on metal and you'd need a magnet stronger than anything we've come up with and it would end up destroying the tissue it's under as soon as you stick it to something.
  • edited September 2014
    I may be wrong but If you were to weigh 150 lbs the combined force of all the magnets would have to be greater than 150 lbs to just hold you. However, to be able to "climb" you have to momentarily release one hand and move it up; meaning the pull force per hand should be around 150lbs.

    This means you would have to be able to horizontaly pull 150lbs just to release one hand. It would probably be extremley difficult and extrutiatingly painful because their would be 150lbs of force compressing your skin, which would probably cause permanent damage to blood vessels, nerves, etc.

    Not only that but unless the magnet where anchored to the bone structure it would most likely move in relation to your body causing internal trauma. What I mean is that the magnet would remain stationary against the metal, as your body would be pulled downwards because of gravity; causing the magnet to move inside of you.

    Finally, the technology is not advanced enough to produce magnets that powerful that can be implantable in a hand. Neodymium magnets that strong are a few inches wide and thick. It might not sound that big but an object that size would be obstructive and significantly impede normal hand function. Because of this, a magnetic impant designed for wall climbing would not be reasonable.
  • Furthermore, it's something that isn't worth pursuing. It would likely be easy to make some kind of electromagnet array that you could turn on to stick, and off to unstick. Sounds like a fun toy, but there wouldn't be any advantage to having it be an implant.

  • edited September 2014
    A pair of gloves that have large magnets attatched on the palms and fingers would be feasable, however, one would still require an incredible amount of upperbody strenght. The average person cannot pull up their bodyweight with one hand, much less repeatedly.

    Most walls arn't made of metal anyways, so this device would be very limited. However, a suction device should be attatchable to any smooth surface.
  • Clip of the Mythbusters making magnets to climb a wall:

    Like others said, it would need huge magnets and be pretty painful.
  • This is completely ridiculous, there are a lot of different reasons, but alone the magnet force <-> weight ratio is far worse than 1:1:

    If you want to stick to the wall you need to have a friction force (a lot) bigger than your weight. If you were to climb with your bare hands on a sticky steel surface, you could get a friction coefficient of say 0.8 (which is pretty high). The normal force for that friction is the magnet's Lorentz-Force.

    FF = FN * μ
    FG = m * g
    FF = FG
    FN * μ = m * g

    Let's assume a mass of 80kg.

    FN = m * g / μ
    FN = 80kg * 9.81 m/s2 / 0.8
    FN = 981N

    This is the force that needs to be present, as a minimum, on three limbs so you can climb. The force would need to be about 400N or something per limb so you don't slide down as soon as you get some downwards acceleration. In order to lift the fourth limb, you of course need to provide a bigger force and drag the magnet away from the metal surface.
    I want to see someone lift 400N for every step, some skin that can hold 40kg and magnets small enough to fit in your hand a provide that kind of force.

    If you want electric magnets so you can turn them off or on (even though you would still squeeze your skin off when first attaching them) you would need to carry 3 car batteries with you and run 5mm diameter wires into your arms.
  • Oh yeah, totally forgot about the friction aspect. I painted a wall with a magnetic undercoating layer. Magnets clinging to this stuff perform better on a ceiling surface than a wall as they slide down rather easily. Once again, I'll avoid spinning my brain on this. Going gecko material style has far more potential were you to really want to do something like this... concrete is ubiquitous.
  • You know this does bring to light a topic I think no one is really addressing much. Although this forum is called biohack, I don't think this means we must exclusively discuss bio oriented projects does it? I really interpret this as being more of a futurist board with a heavy "self-improvement" angle. So I mean, making some kind of device like discussed above isn't out of place here. I just think trying to force it to be a "bio-hack" via implantation is.
  • edited September 2014
    This would happen 
  • Ahh brings back memories of Legend of Zelda. Good times.

    Wasn't able to see the power supply that he was using though. Was it hiding within the boots of his or was it elsewhere? Watched a couple times however didn't see anything obvious.
  • They will help with grip but not to the degree your thinking. Most people can barely pick up a paperclip.
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