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Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 11:42 UK
Spider-Boy inventor climbs walls

Watch Spider-Boy climbing the school wall

Hibiki Kono's favourite superhero has always been Spider-Man so perhaps it is no surprise that he has invented a system to climb walls.

The Cambridge schoolboy's other inspiration was the BBC science programme, Bang Goes the Theory.

Two cheap vacuum cleaners later, and Hibiki astonished his classmates and delighted his teachers, by inventing a way to climb up walls.

"We are very proud," said his head teacher, Nick Robinson.

Months of preparation

It all began earlier this year.

"I saw this thing on the BBC called Bang Goes the Theory," Hibiki explained. "A guy called Jem Stansfield came up with the idea of vacuum gloves and that's where I got the inspiration from."

Five months of planning later, he was ready to build the machine, which took him two weeks to assemble.

"I skipped a few academic lessons to fit in more DT (design technology) lessons," he went on. "My mum helped with some of it - with painting."

His invention consists of the motors from two vacuum cleaners, a cover to keep dust or rain out, and two pads, 30 centimetres square, which are covered in foam.

Hibiki Kono, back view of wall climbing invention
Two vacuum cleaner motors power Hibiki Kono up the walls at school

Scaling heights

Hibiki is 13 years old and a pupil at King's College School in Cambridge.

His headmaster, Nick Robinson, is very proud of his achievement.

"It's very impressive that anyone should spend that amount of time and be so determined and committed to seeing a project right through to the end, and achieve the success he has," he said.

"Many children these days give up as soon as they meet a challenge, but to persevere and be determined and follow something through in the way Hibiki has, is really impressive."

Hibiki's teacher will not let him climb any higher than two metres.

"I can go as high as the cable can go, but my teacher doesn't let me go so far because he's scared, without a safety rope, and of a power cut," he explained.

"We were going to get a professional climber in but unfortunately we have to have life insurance, which is actually too expensive, so we weren't able to do that."

On the off-chance that this might change one day, he does have a bum-bag full of supplies: "For if I want to picnic on the roof, or something", he said.

Hibiki Kono & his wall-climbing invention
Hibiki Kono clings to the wall using these 30 centimetre pads

Engineering future

Hibiki believes the invention could have some practical applications: "It could be used for painting or cleaning high corners or for spy missions, like MI6," he said.

As you might expect he would love to be an engineer in the future, but at the moment he is not sure which area to specialise in.

"I don't really mind what kind of engineer - space shuttles or F1 cars," Hibiki explained. "If it's fun and what I dreamed of and it has good pay, I'd love it."



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