Inventor Scales Building Using Homemade Vacuum Gloves

Nothing puts the DIY in climbing a building like a homemade pair of suction gloves. Inventor Jem Stansfield used his vacuum-powered device to clamber up the 120-foot aluminum wall of the White City building in London last week.

Each glove consists of wooden panels edged with latex and attached via tubing to its own motor. The motors were cannibalized from two vacuum cleaners and housed in a wooden backpack of sorts. Pressing the gloves flat against a surface creates the vacuum effect, which can be toggled through a shutter on the back.

PopSci has previously examined some more tried-and-true methods of ascending or descending from heights, such as the Flying Belt and the Rescue Reel, both winners of our Invention Awards.

Any would-be daredevils who might feel the slightest inclination to recreate this latest feat can take some warning from the stuntman himself, who backed up his invention with a safety rope -- which ultimately came in very handy.

"For God's sake, in no way encourage anyone to do this," Stansfield said to The Telegraph and other onlookers. "It's a deathtrap, it really is. If it got cancelled by the weather I would be overjoyed ... I'm really feeling quite ill."

The intrepid climber finally managed to suction his way to the top of the building, even after slipping 10 feet from the top due to a greasy film on the wall. Spiderman might scoff, but Peter Parker would likely approve.