Stanford’s Stickybot3


Stickybot has gone through a pretty radical upgrade.  You may recall the gecko looking glass walking bot from all over the net. While it was pretty cool, the technology has gone much further. Not only is it designed to look like a gecko, the feet are actually made to adhere to surfaces in the same manner. They are using an adhesive system based off Van Der Waals forces.  Though the stickybot 3 doesn’t walk yet,  the feet are already impressive. Look how little of the foot is actually making contact with the glass. See how easily he can remove and re-adhere it? Simply amazing.

12 thoughts on “Stanford’s Stickybot3

  1. The Idea behind the “Adhesive” is very cool, although it can only climb smooth surfaces at the moment, this would be very cool indeed if it could stick to various terrain. (In the works, I’m sure)

    Either way, still a cool concept.

  2. I got to see these guys (and a couple of other really similar researchers) present at a conference last year. The tract was actually all about wall climbing robots. The technology for the foot pads is incredibly fascinating. They can make the sticky pads work on different surfaces by changing the size and shape of the micro structure used on the feet. One of the researchers was actually proposing that they produce a foot pad that has a wide variety of different sizes and shapes of the “hairs” on a single pad so that it could easily handle different surface textures. The surface contamination is definitely a big issue though. Really cool stuff…

  3. I heard about this kind of adhesive a while ago, but I remember that it had problems staying clean. Any contaminants, even moisture, would interfere with the adhesion enough that they became unusable very quickly.

    It looks like this is not a big problem with this robot though. Does anybody know if the material has been improved a lot in the last few years or if we just can’t tell from the video that this robot still has that problem? I am curious to know.

  4. s/b “based on” not “based off.”[/grammar nazi] I’d like to see a couple of these (with parachute attached, just in case) scaling a skyscraper, eliminating the cumbersome scaffolds and ropes, etc. necessary to wash windows. What other practical applications do you see?

  5. This is a relatively new adhesive. The adhesive used on Discovery’s “Prototype This” and the Science Channel’s “Weird Connections” was the first generation of adhesive that could only do glass. This new adhesive has smaller features and a suspension layer that allows it to do rougher surfaces (it won’t stick to something like drywall) Just like a gecko, their stiff hairs make them fairly resistant to contamination, but not nearly at the level of a gecko. They’ll slowly collect dirt, but they’re extremely easy to clean: just run a piece of tape over them and they’re nearly good as new.

    Also, this is was a sneak peak of me. I’ll be climbing as soon as possible.

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