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Usual climbing walls are varied by attachment of different grips at predefined positions. The wall i propose is made from rods(something lightweight, foam-aluminium?) that are stacked. The rods are hexagonal in crossection, have a strong magnet on their rear end, and are subtly rough on the sides.
the wall is a robot or some other form of low-pay labor. To change the appearance of the wall, the whole wall is vibrated to a degree that lets the rods be shifted against each other. By pushing some out, and pulling others in (via the magnets), the wall can be made in any shape. To finalize, the shaking stops and the rods settle.
The resolution of detail is dependent on the diameter of the rods , and the length of the rods determines the maximal amplitude of wall features/overhang. For small diameters, care has to be taken to form the features so no single rod will be bent.
Hooks for safety can be inserted at any position, replacing one or more rods there.
Walls made from wood...
... might suffer from some adrenalin inducing structural issues [loonquawl, Mar 27 2009]
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||Question,What is the energy/mechanism needed
the wall to negate the friction between /subtly
||How about all the rods being threaded and seated
against each other then a robotic arm with a
pneumatic driver can make changes by row and
column. Probably would not look as surreal as a
vibrating wave of altering rods.
||I like the idea, a bit like a giant press pin
sculpture you can climb over.
||Is this a specialist item for Saudi Princes - have you seen the cost of foam-aluminium, even aerospace does not use if much, and robots are not cheap either! I think what you need I a mutant giant hedegehog with alopecia(?).
||Actually i have not seen the price ... but i might have wondered why this wondrous material isn't more widespread...
||I was loath to suggest steel rods, as the weight of the wall would fast become prohibitive; Natural materials (like the hedgehog sheddings) would be too prone to subtle alterations in diameter, which easily could lead to Jenga! - like effects. Plastics, perhaps? Towards the front, the plastic could have some grit in it, for better grip.
||I thought about threaded rods, too, but deemed them too cumbersome for adjustments - the rods i envisioned are ~5mm diameter, so one sqm. already would contain 40.000 pieces - quite daunting to set a driver to every single one - my solution would enable the operator to use any kind of mold to shape the wall (or possibly some clever tool-head containing a coil-array that uses shaped magnetic fields to position the rods)
||@[wjt]: thank you for the 'press pin sculpture' - one of those actually was my inspiration, but i had no clue where to begin googling for the actual name of the contraption.... As for the energy needed - i used the //subtly rough// to get out of answering that one... i actually have no idea, all i know is that with vibrations, all kinds of weird things (aka. 'magic') happens