You know how Batman goes up the side of a building so quickly, it's almost as if he's flying? Yes, he uses this gadget that fires a high-tensile line which he uses to reel himself up quickly. It's from the imagination of movie writers, but now it has become real with the invention of the Atlas Powered Rope Ascender. It is a toaster-size battery-driven device that is powerful enough to allow someone to rappel up a wall at 10 feet per second!
The inventors, Nate Ball, Tim Fofonoff, Bryan Schmid, Dan Walker, came up with the invention in 2004 as part of an annual military-gear-invention contest at MIT called the Soldier Design Competition. The gadget weighs 20-pounds and has a motorized rope-winding mechanism that holds the rope. “Until recently, it just wouldn’t have been small enough,” Fofonoff says. The team had the help of a company that produces high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. Fofonoff says their invention has a greater power-to-weight ratio than a Dodge Viper.