#1932: FallFeline

People who have to work at heights above ground tend to spend a lot of their time roped to the exterior of buildings, ladders etc.

Today’s invention is an extra safety measure, based on how cats seem able to avoid killing themselves during falls.

It consists of a metal cylinder containing a rotating hub and a ratchet mechanism. To the hub are attached numerous radial steel bands -like several clock mainsprings.

The device allows these bands to be twisted tightly around the hub, using a detachable lever arm, into overlapping spirals.

When someone wearing one of these devices falls, the bands are suddenly released, forming a wide expanse of springy legs. The release order would be electronically controlled so that it would be self-orientating

These legs hit the ground milliseconds before the wearer and thus cushion the impact in a similar way to the legs of a cat.

Such a system might also provide parachutists, dropped from low altitude, an extra degree of safety.