VertiGo Robot Drives Up Walls

This collaboration between ETH and the Disney empire’s research arm is a ultra-light robot that can roll across horizontal surfaces and also transition and climb walls.

The robot has four wheels with one steerable set, but its secret sauce is the two propellers gimbaled on its back. Using these propellers it can move itself across the ground, but also, when approaching a wall, provide enough thrust to overcome the gravity vector.

Naturally, the lighter the robot, the less force will be needed to keep it on the wall. That’s why the frame is made from carbon fiber corrugated sandwich panels. The motors, batteries, and controllers are all also light and small.

We liked how the robot was, apparently, using its propellers to provide additional stability even while on the ground. There is a video after the break, and more information can also be found on the Disney Research webpage.

19 thoughts on “VertiGo Robot Drives Up Walls

  1. I had a little cheap toy that did the same thing, but differently, to climb windows. A double-ended bellows alternately sucked and blew through tubes connected to either end. The tubes ended in sucker pads, and the suckers moved onto and away from the glass, as well as up and down enough to pull the thing upwards.

    It worked on glass windows, and I suppose anything else that could form a proper seal. Amazing really how cheap and unsophisticated you can make something that does that. It was just cheap plastic, a little DC motor, a couple of batteries. Weighed perhaps 100 grams or so. Climbed at quite a rate.

    This thing, seems like the wheels are driven, as well as the blades. The way it controls the blades, and switches them around so accurately and quickly, is quite impressive. That’s where the innovation is, I think. Impressive to see it stick to a wall in any direction it wants to drive. I wonder how much of the vectoring is generated under computer control, vs pre-programmed or remote human? Could it move on any surface? Upside down? Seems like it could, from how it works. That’d be worth seeing.

    Wonder what else you could use it for? One thing you can guarantee, the little fucker’s gonna be all over the next Star Wars, with home versions in shops for the Xmas following. 300 quid to shut your mewling kid up, til he breaks it on Boxing Day.

  2. OK. nice.
    But then why 4 wheels? Just have a single Axel. Steering would have to be addressed, but you already have the thrust to do active balancing.The wheels could then be huge. Think of a cylinder that can ride over anything. Up the wall over the ceiling over the lawn.

  3. If only there was a way to eliminate the wheels for greater mobility and speed.

    That would be so cool. It would even be able to go over water!

    1. I thought the same, it has wheels, it has rotors.. why do we only see it riding and not flying?!

      And there are only left some skis to ride on water too. Then we would have a hybrid plane :)

  4. “We liked how the robot was, apparently, using its propellers to provide additional stability even while on the ground.”
    Actually, the wheels are not powered by a motor but the propulsion from the propellers make the robot move. So propeller act for motion instead of stability on the ground .

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