In a dramatic experiment, an 11-stone volunteer crawled up a 12ft pane using sticky attachments on his hands and feet, the Mirror reported.
The technology employs the same natural molecular forces that allow gecko lizards to scurry around on ceilings.
Electrostatic Van der Waals forces cause neighboring molecules to be attracted to each other. Although very weak, the effect is multiplied by thousands of tiny hairs that cover a gecko's toes, allowing them to stick firmly to surfaces.
Adopting the same principle, scientists created tiny tiles called "microwedges" to generate Van der Waals forces and produce a dry adhesive even more efficient than the gecko's.
The research was conducted in collaboration with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), whose "Z-man" programme has been investigating biologically-inspired climbing aids for soldiers.
One application of the technology might be to help astronauts get around in weightless conditions.
The research is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. (