eGFI - Dream Up the Future Sign-up for The Newsletter  For Teachers Online Store Contact us Search
Read the Magazine
What's New?
Explore eGFI
Engineer your Path About eGFI
Autodesk - Change Your World
Overview E-tube Trailblazers Student Blog
  • Tag Cloud

  • What’s New

  • Pages


  • RSS Comments

  • Archives

  • Meta

Nate Ball: Engineer and Daredevil


You may know him as the host of PBS’s Design Squad, or for his guest appearances on The Discovery Channel in programs like Mythbusters. These days Nate Ball is an engineer on the go, whether he’s creating useful gadgets or teaching himself to do a back flip off a wall (see the video below for a demonstration). Nate received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from M.I.T., where he studied mechanical engineering – when he wasn’t busy being an NCAA All-American pole-vaulter, that is.

Most recently he invented the ATLAS Ascender, a rope-climbing device that allows people to quickly scale the faces of cliffs and buildings in a Batman-like fashion. This gravity-defying invention is already in use by the US Army and countless rescue squads, and won Nate the 2007 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Student Innovation.

YouTube Preview Image

Says Nate of confronting his less successful experiments: “The more something fails, the more I can learn from it.”

His words of inspiration for young engineers? “Anytime you’re a little bit scared, but you make yourself do and and push yourself through…and you come out on top – that’s the greatest feeling ever.”

Photo credit: WGBH / Anthony Tieuli

2 Responses to “Nate Ball: Engineer and Daredevil”

  1. […] you ever thought crime-fighting comic book superheroes were just fantasy, think again. And not just Batman’s fancy car and Iron Man’s high-tech suit – we’re talking real super […]

  2. […] visit us at Discover Engineering Family Day (Sat. Feb. 20 at the National Building Museum), where engineering daredevil Nate Ball will be demonstrating his ATLAS Ascender. Swing by the eGFI table and enter to win a free iPod […]

Comments or Questions?

By clicking the "Submit" button you agree to the eGFI Privacy Policy.