International Climbing Machines (ICM) has its headquarters in a shabby warehouse on the outskirts of Ithaca.
The workshop is hardly bigger than a three-car garage. Metal shelves filled with spare parts line the walls, and in one corner there’s enough space for company president Sam Maggio to show off his device.
It’s called a climber.
“We simply put a vacuum motor, a standard industrial vacuum motor, on the body of the climber and that establishes a vacuum in the chamber that’s in the center of the climber,” says Maggio.
That vacuum keeps the 25-pound robot stuck to the wall while it climbs, just like Spiderman. But the robot doesn’t look like Spiderman. It looks like a sump pump with a two-foot long metal body and rubber tracks on either side.
Workers operate it with a Playstation controller.