As part of the Brighton Science Festival Programme, BBC presenter, Jem Stansfield, turned two vacuum cleaners he bought at a local hardware shop into a pair of suction pads strong enough to help him scale buildings.
The DailyMail cites Jem, an aeronautics graduate, as saying, "I came across the idea when I was doing a challenge to make superhuman powers out of junk. I worked out the vacuum cleaners could support my weight." Stansfield goes on to say, "I attached pads roughly the size of tea trays to the nozzle and realised they pressed tightly against the wall and could hold me."
Once his project was finished, he tested it by scaling the 30-foot brick wall of a local school without a helmet or a harness. However, the real challenge was scaling the BBC's aluminum finished London offices. Needless to say, for this 100-foot distance, he was decked out in a helmet, harness and had a spotter on ropes along side him. The beginning of the climb goes quite well but in the last 25 feet, Jem runs into some trouble; grease from traffic pollution is destroying any friction and the pads begin to slip.
If you think you can resist the temptation to tear apart your own vacuum cleaner, check out the videos of Jem's project and challenge below.
Prior to his career as a TV presenter, Stansfield worked in special effects (Van Helsing and Lost in Space), produced exhibits for the Science Museum and Royal Observatory, invented the world's first air-powered motorbike, and won a New Scientist prize for boots that walk on water.