Wall-Climbing Robot Is Speedy

A robot at Carnagie Mellon University is turning heads and giving reason to go “Oooh!” and “Ahhh!” The robot climbs walls at the rate of six-centimeters a second, which is pretty fast if you click the link and watch the video. That little bugger flies! It’s able to stick to the wall by using gecko -like suction pads that stick to the surface it’s climbing. From the article:

As the robot’s motor turns, its tail presses against the surface, and its triangular legs rotate forward (a). As its front feet come into contact with the surface, the motor torque caused by the tail’s contact with the surface presses the front feet against the surface while pulling away the rear feet (b). When the force acting on the rear foot reaches a critical point, it peels away from the surface, and the robot steps forward (c).

Very cool stuff. A quick, small robot that can climb walls sounds like something the military will pick up right away. Unfortunately, the robot does have some issues. If dust or dirt accumulate on the sticky-pads, then the robot can’t climb the wall properly. And last I checked, Iraq has plenty of dust and sand. Back to the drawing board guys. Peep the full article and a link to the video below.

Wall-Climbing Robot [Technology Review]