But apparently this has been going on for a while up there in Logan. Last year, Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brian Maffly reported that the climbing device was designed by a student team and took first place at the Air Force Research Laboratory Design Challenge. It sucks (Ha! Pun intended!) and functions due to something call "pressure differentials." It can hold between 500 and 700 pounds. The device is also kind of bulky think more Doc Ock than Caped Crusader.
Still, there's nothing quite like happening upon a guy climbing a wall with a vacuum, as Youtube user Preston Lamb apparently did. In Lamb's video, the climber takes a little more than three minutes to completely scale the wall, which looks like it's probably three stories tall.
It seems significant that the climber is ascending a brick wall, with lots of little grooves; past footage of the device tended to show it working on presumably more sheer, concrete walls. Those pressure differentials must be really outstanding.
The device also raises the important point made by Uncle Ben in the first Tobey Maguire Spider-man movie: with great [vacuum generated climbing] power comes great responsibility. So let's hope those students at USU are training to become superheroes, not supervillains.