People across the UK are donning their 'Wrong Trousers' today for a fun charity event inspired by the much-loved Wallace & Gromit film. But if you've always thought the duo's famous 'Techno Trousers' would never work in real life, think again! Students at the University of Leicester have shown that Wallace & Gromit's Wrong Trousers invention is theoretically possible.
In the film Wallace gives his canine pal a pair of ex-Nasa robotic 'Techno Trousers' for his birthday and the pair soon discover they have special powers, allowing the wearer to scale ceilings and climb on walls! But could such an invention work in real life? A group of fourth year university students have looked into the science behind the techno trousers and found that they would indeed work, albeit for a short period.
The students started their investigations by examining what suction would be required to allow a fully grown person wearing the trousers to walk on the ceiling without losing contact. They calculated that the vacum generator in the boots of the trousers, if powerful enough, would allow for a level of suction that would make walking on the ceiling viable. Then, after crunching some numbers and some other highly scientific stuff, the team worked out that the user would get 20 minutes' worth of wall and ceiling scaling per wear - perhaps not quite long enough to paint the ceiling, as Gromit does in the film. The scientists confirmed that using the invention to scale a building and get access to a priceless diamond would not be recommended...
The students took part in the project as part of their formal coursework, as course tutor, Dr Mervyn Roy, explains: "Every year we ask each student to write around 10 short papers for the Journal of Physics Special Topics. It lets the students show off their creative side and apply some of the physics they know to the weird, wonderful, or the everyday." So perhaps one day in the future we'll all get the chance to walk on the ceiling, thanks to the clever chaps at Leicester University!
If you'd like to read the full scientific paper you can take a look here.