Gecko Inspired Tank-Bot Can Scale Walls with Ease
A tank-bot inspired by the average gecko is able to scale walls with ease, turning corners and clinging to most surfaces.
The robot, designed by a team of engineers at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada might not look exactly like one of the easy recognizable lizards, but that’s not stopping it from acting like one.
In the video posted from the institue we can catch a quick glimpse of this machine, able to roll its way up a whiteboard.
VIDEO TO EMBED http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tont-BzM1II&feature=player_embedded
The robot has four treads that are connected to a central engine, with each tread seperated by an individual joint which lets it bend itself to easily take corners or move from the wall to the ceiling.
The treads are made from a material that is based off the same properties that enable a gecko’s feet to stick to any surface. According to our source, the surface of the treads is covered in what looks like tiny “flat-topped mushroom” shaped fibres that can grip surfaces but also easily peel off and detach from them.
While this prototype isn’t currently able to cling to any surface, the researchers are hoping to expand upon the concept so that one day future models will be able to cling to both wet and slippery surfaces and other places inaccessible for people to reach.
One thing that the developers have in mind is to eventually roll out a model that can be used as a sort of general maintenance robot for inspecting building, drainage systems and airplanes and then repairing them. As well, turning these machines into search and rescue bots for disaster situations is a possibility as well.
The head researcher, who will be starting his Ph.D. in the coming months pointed out that his colleagues will be taking the technology to other projects of theirs, notably one that involves creating a spider bot that will also be able to move across uneven sufaces better than their gecko bot.