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Boy Builds Wall-Climbing Machine Using Recycled Vacuums 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the hello-true-believers dept.
Joe McIntosh writes "Hibiki Kono just might be a boy genius. The 13-year-old decided he wanted to climb vertical surfaces like his hero, Spiderman. So, he used two 1,400-watt recycled vacuum cleaners and a little bit of elbow grease to make a machine that allows him to scale walls. Kono has been scaling the walls of his UK school and has told the media that he hopes his invention will help window washers eliminate clumsy ladders from their daily routine."

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Boy Builds Wall-Climbing Machine Using Recycled Vacuums

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  • Mother (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:52PM (#32780968) Homepage Journal

    and mother likes it because it cleans the wall on the way up.

  • by ak_hepcat (468765) <leif@denal i . net> on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:53PM (#32780988) Homepage Journal

    Because didn't Adam fall down a lot on his during the Mythbusters attempt?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      So you are mythbusting the Mythbusters? I hear recursion is also a myth.

      • I hear recursion is also a myth is also a myth.

        • by evanism (600676)

          so, a myth is a myth, and recursion is recursion and therefore all recursions are myths and myths are recursive. Hmmm, my spidey sense of an infinite loop forming is tingling!

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        Even worse - they weren't recycled - they were reused.

        There is an important difference between recycling and reuse.

        • According to the video he bought them at the store so they were neither recycled nor reused.
        • After recycling some vacuums, he's going to start recycling the holes in the road. Then he'll know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

    • Re:Oh no he didn't! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BagOBones (574735) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:10PM (#32781200)

      http://mythbustersresults.com/episode54 [mythbustersresults.com]

      A suction cup system can be used to scale a (23-story) skyscraper.

      plausible

      The concept worked but Adam did not have the stamina to scale the entire building. Making the climb would require significant physical training.

      • I'm sure a similar wall climbing gadget was described in a Dick Francis novel many years ago....that one was battery operated however, and before the days of Lithium Ion batteries.
      • by Timmmm (636430)

        "Bang Goes the Theory" did it. They guy on there seems a lot better at making stuff work than the mythbusters team.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1qoINo2MPM [youtube.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Actually he didn't make it. He slipped and had to hang on the safety rope near the top. However I'll him the credit for reapplying the vacuum cleaner suction things to the wall and continuing from the point where they failed.
        • And the kid's rig looks suspiciously similar to this one. I'll still give him credit for actually building it.
      • That's the great thing about Mythbusters: they don't always manage to bust the myth very well, but when they show you can do something, you know it can be done.
        • by Hatta (162192)

          That's true about science in general. You can't prove that something never happens. But it only takes one example to prove it does.

          • by VoidCrow (836595)

            True until someone whips out the 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' card, at which point you have to wait for a generation or two of scientists to die off. Look how long it took the Wright Brothers to gain credibility. Low probability events suffer in particular, eg, ball lightning and meteors.

    • Re:Oh no he didn't! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:18PM (#32781290)
      I think the interesting thing with this idea are the foot straps. Lets you use leg power for most of your lifting. The Mythbuster's solution needed much more upper body strength, and so was much more strenuous. Time for a Myth revisit?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cylix (55374) *

        There are a few important differences between the two systems.

        Adam's design was not tethered and has a finite amount of power to work with. This meant he had to rely on a few mechanical components. I think overall his gear appeared to be quite a bit heavier.

        The kid's design is not an efficient system and has a relatively infinite power source. It gets to be lighter and a bit more lossy in terms of suction. This is how he is able to scale brick walls with what appears to be a few hoses and cups.

        However, I th

      • Sounds like Mythbusters should have spent a little more time hanging out at the local rock gym. It's a pretty well-known fact among rock climbers that it's better to keep your weight on your legs rather than your arms. You can walk on your legs all day, but you can only do handstands for a few minutes. You can always tell the n00bs at the local rock wall or rock gym because they try to pull themselves up the route with brute upper-body strength.
        • Re:Oh no he didn't! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by socz (1057222) <socrates&ghettobsd,org> on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:41PM (#32782036) Homepage Journal
          Man, I love climbing rock walls (the fake ones). So much fun!

          But like my sig says....

          The question isn't "can you?" But rather "why would you want to?" So much power and effort when much easier and more importantly, simpler systems have been developed. But that's not to say it might not have an application some day right? Say like, having to venture outside of the international space station a`la R2D2 to fix a power coupling or something. Just saying!
          • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Friday July 02, 2010 @09:00PM (#32782192) Journal

            But that's not to say it might not have an application some day right? Say like, having to venture outside of the international space station a`la R2D2 to fix a power coupling or something. Just saying!

            I'm no physicist, but I'm guessing that a vacuum suction system in space will be about as effective as a ShamWow at the bottom of the ocean.

          • "why would you want to?"

            Because when you're 13 you invent things for their sheer awesomeness.

          • by Revotron (1115029)

            ...Because hook-and-loop fasteners aren't good enough at grabbing and holding things in relative zero-G?

            If you want to put a vacuum cleaner in space, good luck. I'll be down here nailing Jello to a tree when you need me.

        • by timeOday (582209)

          You can always tell the n00bs at the local rock wall or rock gym because they try to pull themselves up the route with brute upper-body strength.

          But then, rock climbing isn't just about climbing rocks; it's about climbing them in the most difficult yet still possible way. Otherwise you'd just use fixed ropes and ascenders, or walk up the gentle slope to the side, or take an elevator [youtube.com].

      • I'm pretty sure Adam's rig had the same kind of foot straps. It was the weight of his gear and the complexity of that did him in. It took longer to move one side up than these. Combined with the greater weight I think is what did him in.
    • by fake_name (245088)

      I'm pretty sure the biggest difference between this and mythbusters is mythbusters built a self-contained system, while this one requires an external power source.

      What this kid has done is very impressive, but it does require an extension cord plugged into mains power.

  • Can't speak for other countries, but over here we don't use ladders anymore. Instead we simply have a stick large enough to reach the 3rd(4th) floor from the ground ;-)

  • No more ladders? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ossifer (703813) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:55PM (#32781010)
    You'll love those "clumsy" ladders when someone trips on your power cord...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or one of the tubes come loose or otherwise gets a leak.

      Cool fun project but totally impracticable for real-life use (you think no one thought of this before?).

      For climbing walls I personally I like those nanofiber pads that the military has. Basically the same design as a gecko's feet pads. Lets you climb anything string enough to support your weight. Doesn't work well on crumbly surfaces though.

  • by spazdor (902907) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:56PM (#32781020)

    Window washers may also want to carry around a UPS on their backs.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Window washers may also want to carry around a UPS on their backs.

      Fuck that risk, I'll just send up a Roomba instead.

      -Neil Armstrong
             

      • Window washers may also want to carry around a UPS on their backs.

        Fuck that risk, I'll just send up a Roomba instead.

        -Neil Armstrong

        But how do you empty out the moon dust.

    • Window washers may also want to carry around a UPS on their backs.

      Or a parachute.

  • Goodf Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:59PM (#32781068) Journal
    Window washers rejoice! You can now use a piece of technology susceptible to power failure, surges, blown fuses, and seized motors, instead of the centuries old, proven technology that you've been using for years. Imagine how much safer you'll be clinging to a wall by a noisy machine rather than a clumsy ladder.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      thank you captain buzz kill!!

    • Imagine how much safer you'll be clinging to a wall by a noisy machine rather than a clumsy ladder.

      A swing stage is more common on taller buildings. Just sayin'...

      • Kono ... has told the media that he hopes his invention will help window washers eliminate clumsy ladders from their daily routine.

        A swing stage is more common on taller buildings. Just sayin'...

        You know that, and I know that, but apparently nobody told this industrious 13yr old.

    • You can now use a piece of technology susceptible to power failure, surges, blown fuses, and seized motors, instead of the centuries old, proven technology that you've been using for years.

      You could've made the same argument about the first combustion engines, or electric lighting systems...

  • by Anaerin (905998) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:06PM (#32781146)
    This again? The kid is doing nothing more than ripping off the BBC TV show "Bang Goes the Theory", that did this last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1qoINo2MPM [youtube.com]
    • Exactly. A cool hack? Yes. Some impressive engineering nous for a kid? Sure. Invention? Nope.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:16PM (#32781796) Homepage Journal

        Some impressive engineering nous for a kid? Sure.

        A kid building a wall-climbing machine out of spare vacuum cleaner parts? It reminds me of something you'd read in a Cory Doctorow novel.

        Kids are great. They give me hope. My kid just got a job as a research assistant in a genetics lab at her university, and though she's working like a slave for next to nothing, the experience has lit her up like a neon sign. Every night I get to hear about stuff about which I understand very little, but her excitement is just ambrosia for this proud papa. I usually only get about five minutes of thrilling reportage before she dashes out, probably to some hormone-fueled assignation with a pierced and pimply male, but knowing that her intellect, her future, her life is just exploding with the new sustains me.

        That, and the fantasy of gelding the grabby boy who dares lay an insincere hand on her.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by IsNoGood (1038764)
          Guys I know you don't have access to UK TV, http://www.bbc.co.uk/bang/ [bbc.co.uk] show and made this about 2 years ago, all this kid have done is to copy that, still good that he learned something from TV how you guys make that out to him being smart I don't understand "13-year-old schoolboy has emulated his heroes, Jem Stansfield and Spider-Man, and built his very own vacuum gloves. Hibiki Kono's efforts were rewarded with international headlines and, even better, a birthday card from Jem himself." Move on, nothing
        • by soppsa (1797376)
          Yea Cory Doctorow's books are all about kids doing what they saw on TV right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BenihanaX (1405543)
      Not only is he claiming credit for an "invention" that isn't his, he fails to note the impracticality due to the strength and stamina required. In the BBC show, Jem Stansfield (who is in better shape than the average window washer) is exhausted by the time he makes it up the building, and he didn't do a bit of cleaning on the way.
      • I saw him on the morning news and he freely admitted it was based on a previous TV show.

        It's the idiot who submitted the story that got it wrong.

    • by Revotron (1115029)

      And they're doing nothing more than ripping off the Mythbusters.

      "Bang goes the theory"? Really? Why don't they just call it "Rumorbreakers"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Two different styles of programme - one is real science, the other is being surprised that things in movies don't work without special effects.
    • The Gadget Show also did it.
    • by ascari (1400977)
      Yes, yes, yes, but don't we all wish we had one of those?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      Nice to see the original - it seems like he would have had to do a lot less work if the extension cord had been run from above rather than below. A hundred feet or so of extension cord is fairly heavy.

      An improvement of the gloves would be some kind of wipe to neutralize oily surfaces...

  • Ahhhhh... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Securityemo (1407943)
    There I got my "incredulous weird things that people would think only existed in fairy-land" boost for today. Hearing about little things like this is what keeps my motivation up - makes me feel like I can actually accomplish the things I want to accomplish.
  • If he was not such a wimp, he would have gotten a bite from a radio active or genetically engineered spider.

    Wasn't he the one screaming while he ran down the hall when they tried to give him vaccinations in school when he was 5 year old? Oh, no that was me.

  • Jem Stansfield on Bang Goes The Theory did this last season.
  • Health and Safety (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jamza (1832368)
    How is he being allowed to do this on the side of his school? To get a pair of safety scissors in a UK school there are like 60 health and safety requirements that need to be met... somehow I think scaling the side of a school building with hoovers might violate the H&S laws.
    • Stop listening to everything Richard Littlejohn tells you. Some of it happens to be sensationalist bullshit.

    • All that is needed is a risk assessment that is proportional in scope and expertise to the risk involved. (I have had H&S responsibility in more than one company.) The risk in this case is small compared to everyday risks run by 13 year olds. The only reason that schools overreact is their fear of parents who are looking for an opportunity to sue. Unlike the US, these parents almost always lose, and the ones that win get very little in damages. The word is slowly getting round: these cases are heard by
  • This was on the local news channel a couple of days ago! (BBC South East or Meridian, can't remember which). He wasn't allowed to go higher than a few feet and there was a crash-mat below him due to H&S.
  • The kid should have been roped off for this stunt, not kind of sort of assisted by the naughty vicar there. Even though there was padding a fall with all that gear on could have resulted in injuries. Roping off on the other hand is perfectly safe. Tough for the vicar. That's my Elmer the Safety Elephant for today.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The kid should have been roped off for this stunt, not kind of sort of assisted by the naughty vicar there.

      The Vicar has already seen the boy "roped off", the element of suction adds more excitement to it.

    • by cusco (717999)
      a fall with all that gear on could have resulted in injuries.

      Oh, good grief. He'd 13 years old. If he doesn't get at least one major injury in the next year or two he'll be the wimpiest kid in his class. At half that age I was building forts in trees 20 feet off the ground with scrap lumber full of rusty nails and sneaking onto the grounds of the local mental institution to go fishing.

      He's a kid. Kids fall down. Most of them survive. Besides, when he's older and his prospective girlfriend ask
      • by gary_7vn (1193821)
        Good point! You must be "old" too. Kids get coddled too much these days!
        • by cusco (717999)
          I'll have survived half a century next year. I'm at least trying to expose my nieces and nephews to the idea that Adventures can be Fun, which their mothers have denied most of their lives. Two of them went to Peru with us this spring, where we climbed mountains, argued right-of-way with cattle, crossed bridges made of a couple of eucalyptus trunks, and rode public buses on roads that make logging trails look good. Now the other two are interested and are old enough that their mother can't really stop th
  • Did you see that unimpressed tall girl at 1:12? Reminds me of the homecoming competition games in Revenge of the Nerds.
  • Perfect for sneaking back into your mom's upstairs basement after a late night of LARPing...

  • I guess as long as there's no liquid nitrogen in no bottles, then this kid's experiments and his mom are OK.
  • Should use solar and batteries.
    He also needs vacuum power for his feet.
    http://www.sensorsone.co.uk/news/26/Measuring-vacuum-pressure-with-negative-gauge-or-absolute-pressure-ranges.html
    Research he might be able to apply to improve his device.
    Go peter parker!

  • This reminds me of Cmdr Keen...
  • I don't know about where you are, but I work in a Chicago suburb, and every once in a while I look out my window and see a guy sitting on what looks like a playground swing washing the windows.

    I work on the 6th floor of an 8 story building.

    There's also a big scaffolding rig that they can drop down the side, but I assume it's a lot more work to get that setup and move it around the building, so for window washing, they get the guy sitting on the board.

    (He is wearing some sort of harness with another cable go

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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