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Rapelling for rescue...in reverse

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  • Rapelling for rescue...in reverse

    This came in a news breif email I get...it might have some uses.


    The Atlas Rope Ascender – a significant new enabling technology
    from Outdoors (84 articles)

    February 15, 2007 Atlas Devices’ Rope Ascender is a remarkable new tool that enables "reverse rappelling" up buildings and other vertical surfaces at unprecedented speeds. The device, which is the size of a hand-held power tool, can lift a 250-pound load more than 600 feet into the air at nearly 10 ft/sec, all on a single battery charge. Using a patented rope interaction design, the Rope Ascender can pull a fully-loaded soldier up a rappelling line, tow vehicles and even remotely move equipment and casualties. Giving soldiers the ability to scale a building or cliff in only seconds is obviously a capability designed perfectly for Special Opps, and will also find application with the police, fire, rescue and many other endeavours. A fully loaded firefighter could use the Ascender to reach the top of a 30-story building in only 30 seconds, compared to the six minutes or more it often takes to trudge up stairs with 80 to 100 pounds of equipment … just think of all the ways this high-torque pocket power pack can be used. Very exciting!

    In November 2004, 2007 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize-winner Nathan Ball and three colleagues entered the Soldier Design Competition sponsored by the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. The competition called for a high-powered device to enable rapid vertical mobility. Ball called the challenge unprecedented, as the original specifications called for a device that weighed less than 25 pounds and could lift 250 pounds 50 feet into the air, in five seconds. "That's more than five horsepower in a 25-pound package," he explained. "That's a power-to-weight ratio higher than a Dodge Viper's—we did the math. To have that much power in that small of a package is a heck of a challenge."

    Through a combination of resourcefulness and "the highest-tech equipment we could afford," such as drill batteries and a few high-power density motors, Ball and his colleagues invented a device that could hoist 250 pounds of weight 50 feet into the air in seven seconds—only two seconds slower than the competition's specification.

    The novel aspect of the ATLAS ascender is its rope-handling mechanism. Similar to the way an anchor is raised and lowered on a ship, the device relies on the capstan effect, which produces a tighter grip each consecutive time a rope is wrapped around a cylinder. The grip continues to tighten as more weight is applied to the line.

    In his design, a standard-sized rope (between three-eighths and five-eighths of an inch) is weaved between a series of specially configured rollers that sit on top of a turning spindle. As the battery-powered spindle rotates, it continuously pulls rope through the device. "We currently have three patents pending for the rope interaction and other iterations on the device" said Ball.

    Ball and his colleagues founded Atlas Devices, LLC to develop and market the ATLAS Powered Rope Ascender. He has upgraded the original design, and the device is now powered by high-density, lithium-ion batteries created by A123Systems. Ball said the new power system immediately dropped the device's weight by several pounds and significantly increased its speed.

    "The latest configuration weighs 20 pounds and peaks at 10 feet per second," he said. "A123Systems has a 150-foot steam tower we were able to use for testing. We successfully completed a 100-foot continuous ascent to the tower’s platform in 14 seconds."

    Ball envisions his invention having practical applications in rescue work, recreational climbing and cave exploration, as well as urban warfare situations. "It can help people complete tasks more efficiently and without depleting energy they would otherwise use climbing ladders and carrying heavy gear," he said.
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  • #2
    Sounds interesting.....

    A fully loaded firefighter could use the Ascender to reach the top of a 30-story building in only 30 seconds, compared to the six minutes or more it often takes to trudge up stairs with 80 to 100 pounds of equipment

    How do you get the rope up there?
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"


    • #3
      Well, you get a fully kitted Firefighter with rope as well, and point at the stairs of course.
      Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
      Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.


      • #4
        Originally posted by dmleblanc View Post
        Sounds interesting.....


        How do you get the rope up there?
        I'm wondering who the uber FF is that can make 30 floors in 6 minutes???? The rule of thumb I was taught was 1 minute per floor.

        Hmmm I wonder if helirappellers will come over to the structure side for setting up the first rope.


        • #5
          Shoot ropes out of helicopters like in towering inferno. Then a sky hook could be used for an anchor


          • #6
            Well if you go up and anchor off the rope, why would you want to come back down just to ascend up again?? It sounds good, and I'm sure it has it's place, where that is, I'm not sure.
            Bill Geyer
            Engine 27
            Memphis F.D.


            • #7
              This is a very impressive piece of equipment.

              This could change a lot of things...


              • #8
                Saw this on the news. The potential is there for multi use in the fire service. But somehow i know that between all the testing and the cost of the device we wont be seeing it anytime soon in our field.
                i was also watching the millitary channel not long ago, it amazes me the toys that are out there that could be of great use to the fire service..

                but dont get me started...


                • #9
                  How does the rope get up there? Um try from you repelling down! But we would always use a 4:1 system before this.


                  • #10

                    But it runs on a single battery and I know how useless our members have always been at checking batteries- you know what's gonna happen half way up the building don't ya'?


                    • #11
                      Sounds like a great tool for confined space rescues!!! Keeps the guy/gal at the top from having to wench your butt back up. Plus it would give you more control over your ascent. Only down side I see is maybe the weight issue. 250 lbs. for two is pushing it if you are rescuing a child. Having double the weight, but having it go a little slower would be very good.
                      Last edited by THEFIRENUT; 02-19-2007, 05:27 AM.
                      Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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                      • #12
                        Like said in previous post, Confined spaces would be great. That seems about it, cause its not very practical for rappelling, because you rarely go back up, unless you need to, so that tool wouldnt be attached to the rope until you needed it. The time and distance you need to go it might just be easier with some prussic and an ascender (more reliable.)

                        Something that could work is once you have a rope established, you could send someone up the rope to a victim from the ground, instead of going from top down. Just make sure them batteries arent dead, so you dont stop half way up and look like a fool and possibly get someone killed.


                        • #13
                          One use I see is if you have to rappel down to a victim. It seems this would be a great tool to ascend back to normal level.

                          A higher weight capacity with slower rate would be nice, and far more practical. Also, as others have said, getting halfway up and having a dead battery would be a problem. Maybe a backup battery?
                          The opinions I post to these forums do not represent any entity to which I am affiliated.


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