Even though he considered war a ‘beastly madness’ da Vinci excelled in designing so called war machines, both practical and fantastic.
His mechanical ladder was designed for soldiers to climb over the fortifying walls of cities and castles. It is raised and lowered by a crank handle attached to a large toothed gear, similar to modern fire ladders used for multi-story building fires.
Climbing inside and inspecting the girders of the vast Sydney Harbour Bridge is a dangerous and time-consuming task. The University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Autonomous Systems has engineered the 7DOF inchworm type robot, including an adhesion pad for its ‘feet’ that climbs inside enclosed structures such as steel bridges, collecting data and conducting condition assessments.
UTS 7DOF inchworm type robot
Photo: UTS Centre for Autonomous Systems
Fire extension ladder
Photo: wrangler / Shutterstock.com