Imagine you are at the movies and you see a Roomba-like robot climbing a wall or clinging to a ceiling. How would that work? If you are like us, you might think of suction cups or something mechanical or magnetic in the wall. Then again, it is a movie, so maybe it is just a camera trick. The robots from the Bioinsipired Robotics and Design Lab at UCSD are no camera trick, though. As [Evan Ackerman] mentions in a post on IEEE Spectrum, “It’s either some obscure fluid effect or black magic.” You can watch a video about the bots, below.
It turns out, the answer is closer to a suction cup than you might think. According to the paper from the lab, a small flexible disk vibrates at 200 Hz. This generates a thin (less than 1 mm) layer of low pressure air in between the disk and the underlying surface. The robot can resist a force of up to 5 newtons from the suction from the disk.
Continue reading “Robot Clings To Ceiling”
Climbing enthusiast and human spider [Swighton] just couldn’t get enough climbing crammed into his day. If he couldn’t get out to the climbing spots, why not bring the climbing spot to him? So he did that by building a climbing wall in his garage.
The process started with determining the available space that can be allocated to the project. In [Swighton]’s case he could afford an 8×12 ft section of real estate. The garage ceilings were 8 ft high. A few days were spent sketching out ideas and designs. To suit his needs, the wall had to have a 45 degree overhang section, a small 90 section (think ceiling, not wall) and a pull-up bar. Once the design was finalized, it was time to pull some sheet rock off the walls and ceiling so that the 2×4 and 2×6 climbing wall framing could be securely fastened to the current garage structure.
Three-quarter inch plywood would cover the wooden frame. Before the plywood sheets were cut to size and installed, he drilled holes every 8 inches to accept t-nuts. These t-nuts allow hand holds to be installed and easily reconfigured. The quantity of t-nuts adds up quickly, an 8 inch square spacing results in 72 t-nuts per sheet of plywood.
[Swighton] also added a hatch to allow access to the inside of the climbing wall so that space would not go to waste. It is now a storage area but may become a kids’ fort in the future. After it was all said and done the wall only cost $400 which includes $180 for the hand holds.
If you’re like [Swighton] and can’t get enough climbing action, check out this wall with light up hand holds or this interactive wall.
The problem of gripping all surfaces has always plagued the field of climbing robotics. But if you don’t care about damaging the wall, why not just let the robot glue its feet to the surface. That’s exactly how this robot does it, using a couple of climbing feet in conjunction with a hot melt glue gun wielding arm. It seems to be a predecessor of the hot glue 3D printing robot which we saw last week.
Check out the video to get a full overview of the climbing process, but here’s the gist of it. The legs and arm are able to pivot around the central axis of the robot, parallel to the climbing surface. Once one leg is glued in place the robot swivels around it so that the body is directly above that leg. From there it reaches up with the arm to deposit some glue on the wall, then moves it out of the way so the other foot can be pressed against the hot adhesive. When the newly attached foot has cooled sufficiently, the lower foot is reheated to free it from the wall. At this point the whole process repeats.
We’re still fond of vacuum-based climbers like this parachute-equipped robot. But the design of the hot-glue arm on this guy is something that might make it into one of our own projects someday.
Continue reading “Climbing Robot Glues It’s Own Feet To The Wall”
Paraswift is a robot that can climb vertical surfaces with ease. Here you can see the robot motoring up the side of a building with a parachute packed on it’s back for use on the way down. The team that built the robot is calling it a base jumper, but after seeing them catch the falling robot in a net we’d say it’s still a bit too fragile to make that claim.
The parachute isn’t the only way for this guy to get down after a long climb. As you can see in the video after the break, it has no trouble driving in any direction on a wall. Like other wall-climbers the Paraswift is using air to stick to the surface. A vortex of air, similar to a tornado, generates a large amount of negative pressure, sucking the body of the robot to the surface it is climbing. I you’re the one who traded a good portion of your life to spend building the Paraswift we’re guessing you added the parachute to hedge your bets against a power failure.
Continue reading “Wall-climbing Bot Does It With Ease”
Watch out Spidey, there’s a new wall climber in town!
Researchers [Matthew Journee, XiaoQi Chen, James Robertson, Mark Jermy, and Mathieu Sellier] recently unveiled their wall climbing wonder bot at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Like most other wall climbing bots, theirs operates on the Bernoulli principle to keep it stuck to the surface, but that’s where the similarities end.
Unlike other Bernoulli-based climbers, this robot’s gripper never actually touches the surface it is climbing. The researchers were able to accomplish this feat by designing a specialized gripper which forces air through a 25 μm gap, creating a very powerful low pressure vortex. The gripper’s design compresses the air by shape alone, causing the air flow to reach speeds of Mach 3, without relying on powerful pumps or increased air volume.
The researchers state that their supersonic gripper can support about five times the weight of a conventional Bernoulli gripper, and as you can see in the video below it also has no problem climbing a wide variety of surfaces.
Window-washing Roomba, here we come!
Continue reading “Wall Climbing Robot Uses Supersonic Grippers”