Realism of the Grappling Hook

Anyone who’s ever picked up a comic book, played a video game, or watched a sci-fi movie has heard of the grappling hook. It’s a gadget that allows the user to elevate or traverse different elevations, like the face of a building. It’s truly a magnificent invention that would be awesome in real life. But has anyone ever made a real grappling hook? The short answer is yes, but no. 

Military and SWAT members alike use a style of the grappling hook to conduct building raids. This real tool is used to hook onto the roof and rappel the building. These gadgets allow the user to hook onto something on the rooftop and rappel along the side of a building. This allows the user to either climb to the roof or swing in through a window. If you’ve played Rainbow Six or any Tom Clancy video game, these are fictional properties that have shown the most realistic interpretation of the gadget. While this is a real “grappling hook”, when most people think of one, they think of Batman’s grapple gun. 

Image courtesy of Autodesk Online Gallery

Batman has a utility belt full of useful yet unrealistic gadgets, one of them being a  variation of the grappling hook. This is the most sought-after version of the gadget because of its mobility. His version is almost like a magical item because of its surreal capabilities. With his grapple gun, he can reach just about any height from anywhere. This version of the grappling hook is extremely unlikely to ever become a real thing due to how physics and elasticity affect the human body, much like how Spider-Man could never be real because you would just smash all your organs together before you could even get off the first swing. In conclusion, Batman’s version of the grappling hook will probably never be a real thing.

Let’s talk about the grappling hook from video games like Ghost of Tsushima and Dying Light 2. In these games, the tool acts less like a magical rappelling tool and more like a vine to swing from. In these games, you attach the hook to an item and can swing across. Ghost of Tsushima’s grappling hook is the more realistic of the two, acting sort of like Indiana Jones’ whip, but this is still extremely unrealistic in both cases. How would you unhook it so easily? To efficiently swing from the rope you’d have to be able to unhook it for future use, but this isn’t shown in any of these properties. It just magically attaches and detaches at will. The same goes for Dying Light 2’s version, it just attaches to anything and detaches magically. While these variations are extremely cool, they’re just completely unlikely to become a real thing no matter how far inventors could get with the idea. 

While the idea of a grapple gun or grappling hook that would be used in any fashion like these fictional properties would be radical and awesome, it’s basically impossible. The closest anyone’s ever gonna get is what has already been invented. Some people, such as Hacksmith Industries on YouTube, have created mimics of Batman’s grapple gun that are basically a real grappling hook with a different design of the body to make it more portable and worthy of its spot on the utility belt. Maybe someone someday will create a version of the implement that is closer to the variations of science fiction, but until then, what’s been made is as close as it’s gonna get. 

What do you think? Do you think a grapple gun is possible, or just a product of science fiction? 

Categories: Technology

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