Holy Invention, Batman!
According to this article at CNN, inventor Nate Ball is the 2007 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner for his invention of the “ATLAS Powered Rope Ascender.” The invention is a portable device that can raise more than 250 pounds at 10 feet per second, giving rescuers, emergency personnel and soldiers faster and more controllable climbing capabilities. In 2004, Ball founded Atlas Devices, LLC with three other mechanical engineering students at MIT to develop and commercialize the device. The U.S. Army recently awarded funding for their invention.
As stated by Ball, “It’s neat to be able to create a real-life engineering solution that has the actual functionality described in the fantastic situations you see on Batman, and with James Bond.”
U.S. Pat. App. Pub. No. 20060273293, titled “Powered rope ascender and portable rope pulling device,” is assigned to Atlas Devices and published December 7, 2006.