Vehicle: Personal
The Grappler   (+3, -4)  [vote for, against]
For carefree hobb-nobbing about town

An exoskeleton, sized to fit the user, who is belted to it securely and snugly.

The arms are hinged at the fore and back of the clavicle; again at the shoulder, elbow, and lastly at the wrists. All joints are reinforced. Along the clavicle and humerus is an axle with gearing at the shoulder and a spot a little lower then the back of the neck.

Along the ulna and radius is a screw-gear that transports a high-tensile spring. This is retracted back along the screw gear, and past the elbow on an extended rail, 20 to 30 centimeters long. Along the outside of the arm is a coil of rope, which is held in a spool with a small clutch likewise attached to the gearing beforehand illuminated.

The elbows are reinforced and internally contain clutches that drive the screw gear.

On the bottoms of the feet platforms are sharp spikes, suitable for traction.

On the back of the exoskeleton is mounted a 20-hp kawasaki motorcycle engine. This is electrically started with a button on the chest, and operates at full throttle.

There are two clutches, one for the left arm, and one for the right. They are maintained by a cable that goes down to the back of the hand, originating at the wrist and inserting behind the base of the middle finger. A glove compresses and retracts the cable for clutch response; a clenched glove means an open clutch.

If both clutches are open the throttle is reduced via a valve in the engine; this is fed via another cable that goes over the clavicles and to the back.

Mounted on both left and right forearms are two stainless steel grapplnig hooks.

To operate, start the engine. The exoskeleton will then have the power to retract and launch harpoons or grappling hooks. To fire, simply wait for the harpoon screw to fully pull back the grappling hook; it is automatically triggered and launched at full spring compression. This happens at a steady pace once the engine is fired up. Once a bolt is launched, the brake is released from the rope spool. There is a slight drag on the rope spool to dampin the spin. Once the rope spool stops spinning, the brake acts as a clutch and engages the spool, which then hauls back the grappling hook.

Good aim can ensure the exoskeleton and rider are pulled towards the grappling hook, not the reverse.

The hooks are called 'hooks' but are not actually hooks. They are friction-based and embed best in wood. They are retracted via an opposing force (i.e. the other grappling hook engaging) and are best applied in surfaces that will not retain penetrative objects.
-- mylodon, Feb 01 2008

GET AWAY FROM HER YOU... uh... what's the word I'm looking for... http://www-personal...p/NSF/fictional.htm
A fictional exoskeleton web site. [Amos Kito, Feb 01 2008]

XOS exoskeleton
Real-world human / exoskeletal interaction [mylodon, Apr 10 2008]


Just Wow!
-- skinflaps, Feb 01 2008

How do you do external shoulder joints? My best guess is a diagonally oriented bearing disk that then supports a hinge bearing that connects to the arm. This still doesn't work very well.and this design NEEDS strong shoulders joints.

Also Mythbusters did a show on this idea and the anchor system is problematic. Also they did it with batteries and electric motors which worked pretty well.
-- MisterQED, Feb 01 2008

I thought about it a bit and I think the best solution is to lower the clavicle joint and place it on the back, affixed to the engine frame. In this way, it would be a sort of goofy scapula joint, but at least it would be out of the way. The shoulder joint itself would be less a shoulder joint and more a free-floating inverse kinematics joint. It would be a rigid hinge. The scapula/clavicle joint would be attached with a limited range ball joint, and the elbow would be a wide range. Full extension of the arm would straighten the joint and deliver tensile force from the lower arm to the back. The joints would be sturdy enough to take any kind of punishment, although compressive forces would have to be resisted by the actual musculature of the wearer.
-- mylodon, Feb 01 2008

Um. Not quite seeing the need for this when hobnobbing about town. Unless you're Batman, of course.

Maybe for mountain climbing?
-- DrCurry, Feb 01 2008

//compressive forces would have to be resisted by the actual musculature of the wearer// I think this might be a problem when the hook fires, though I guess it's a question of how light you could make the hook.

//friction-based and embed best in wood. They are retracted via an opposing force// I also don't understand the hook in the idea. Are you hanging from this thing and isn't that an "opposing force" that you don't want retracting the hook (arrow barb).

Is there any way you could replace the hook with glue? Think Spiderman instead of Batman, then you could have a tiny explosive that would sever the link after use. Special Forces must have worked on improving grapping hooks.
-- MisterQED, Feb 01 2008

//To fire, simply wait for the harpoon screw to fully pull back the grappling hook; it is automatically triggered and launched at full spring compression.//

This seems to imply that, as soon as you switch on the engine (with a finger to your chest), you are committed to launching your projectiles (both of them?), but there is a 'wait' before they actually launch.

If you wanted to abort the launch, would you need to keep your hands carefully open while reaching for the chest switch to cut the power? Would the projectile be pointing straight at your chest at this point, or maybe at your throat? Just wondering...
-- pertinax, Feb 02 2008

random, halfbakery