Vacuum gloves for climbing buildings


Suction is incredibly powerful and can be put to use in several different ways. [Jem Stansfield] built a set of vacuum gloves for a BBC TV series to show how powerful suction really is. He climbed up the side of a 100 foot building, yet had to rely on his safety line near the top. The video of his daring ascension after the jump.

[via DVICE]


  1. Tyler says:

    A little bit better than Adam Savage.

  2. what does he have in the backpack? is it two battery powered vacuum cleaners, or something specially made?

    If you were clever you could have just one vacuum cleaner, but you’d need some active control system to make sure the pressure in one suction cup doesn’t go down if the other suction cup is removed from the wall.

  3. pixel says:

    that sucks.

  4. CustardCat says:

    They were mains powered. If you look closely you can see the extension lead dangling from his back.

  5. psuedonymous says:

    For those in the UK (it might also work outside too): has much better video.

  6. Matt says:

    This same machine was developed by a friend of mine a few years ago. He’s a great industrial designer. Please check out his site:

  7. sunjester says:

    nice, to bad all building aren’t flat.

  8. Benny M says:


  9. Louis II says:

    I don’t understand how they come up with the names for these things… “vacuum gloves” hardly fits as a description for that device.

  10. Roberto says:

    Spiderbloke, spiderbloke, does whatever a spiderbloke does.

  11. just/me says:

    Hopefully M$ doesn’t start to build such things…

  12. Simbo says:

    Yea a BSOD would bring a new meaning to crash! Lol

  13. LeJupp says:

    “The first M$ product that doesn’t suck….will be a vacuum cleaner.” Classic.

  14. TMH says:

    Yeah… all I can say is “F THAT!” lol

  15. Of course he has his safety rope for this setup, but in any practical application you would need more than two suction devices, since one is often removed from the surface and it’s stupid to rely 100% on the other one no matter how well tested it is. (even if it were perfectly reliable, what if the part of the building you stick it to falls off?)

    I would also suggest that it is not too difficult, with a little more engineering, to make it stick to not-perfectly flat surfaces. Perhaps by using an array of smaller cups (which can still be rigidly attached to each other) with the contact edge made of a wide seal of something more ‘gooey.’

  16. barry99705 says:

    This is why the elevator was invented. ;)

  17. Johnboy says:

    Nah, elevators were invented because most fat f*cks can’t make it up more than 1 flight of stairs.

  18. George says:

    OR possibly for transferring heavy goods to higher floors.

  19. Doug says:

    A volume tank and check valves are the only “active” control system needed to get by with one vacuum pump. One problem with suction is the higher you go in elevation the less work it can do, because the atmospheric pressure is what’s doing the work. As I recall at sea level you have around 12 psi to work with.

  20. kenf says:

    Video from BBC TV “Bang goes the theory”

  21. Crecencio Elenes says:

    i think this is a great invention and i can see it being used commercially in another field, another commercial application.. let know CE

  22. nick watson says:


    If you liked these, please check out the next build, a hybrid rocket powered by toffee.


    Producer Nick

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