Nathan Ball, an MIT graduate student, has created a battery-powered rope ascender, which is just a fancy name for Batman's utility belt. Ball and his team were challenged to create a 25-pound package capable of lifting 250 pounds 50 feet into the air in five seconds or less and after nearly two and a half years of research they finally did it. Ball and his team have since founded
Bat Tools, LLC Atlas Devices, LLC to develop and market their officially named ATLAS Powered Rope Ascender. Batman jokes aside (I have well surpassed my quota), this is a great tool that could be used by the military, firefighters, window washers and more. Ball even won $30,000 for making it. Damn, it pays to be a smarty.
If you're going to consider fictional representations as proof of prior art, then I think you really have to give this one to Batman.
Not only was he using this technology back in the 1940's, but he had refined it to the point that he could wear it on his belt without his underwear type garment sliding down from the weight.
He should even now be on the batphone to his batlawyer crafting a cease and desist letter.