Whether it’s Titanfall or Batman, grappling hooks you point, shoot, and then whisk you away have been on our collective minds practically forever. But the reality is much more challenging to achieve than video games and comic books would make you believe. Now, one YouTube channel dubbed Built IRL has an almost practical rendition. Almost.
If you’re thinking of the small handheld device as seen in Batman: The Animated Series, walk back your expectations just a bit. For one, those grappling hooks seem bigger on the inside, considering they’re about the size of a smartphone and yet shoot out enough rope to scale a tall building.
The grappling hook JT, from Built IRL, has to fend with real-world physics. But all things considered, it’s surprisingly small and self-contained. You wear it on your forearm, and you won’t need an external battery or even a separate device to shoot the hook. He developed it over a year, starting with an internship at the Hacksmith YouTube channel.
And this grappling hook goes far beyond most other attempts at the idea. It can lift you and bring you down, you only need the one unit to both fire and ascend, and it contains the rope. That latter detail likely limits the rope length some, but JT still manages to scale a tree and to the top of some rock climbing walls. And more importantly, he does that in mere seconds instead of minutes, unlike other grappling hooks.
The channel has a full set of build videos detailing how JT designed the thing, and he’s already working on a Spider-Man web shooter too. But if you just want to see the glorious final results, check out his latest video. It’s probably the closest you’ll get to feeling like a superhero.