Geckos are pretty impressive creatures that can climb just about anything. But what is even more impressive is a water powered gecko-like robot that can do basically the same thing and more. Relying on water pressure, this little gecko can scale flat vertical surfaces, such as a window, and wash it. This climbing water robot is made to run on water, which is a lot lighter than a robot that had to rely on heavier batteries and motors.
The researchers for the project are from Zhejiang University in China. The robot is simply hooked up to a tube that is hooked to a water source, typically a faucet. As the water flows through the tube it creates pressure that will allow the robot gecko to do a few things. The first obvious thing that it does is allow the robot to move. When the water moves through the robot, it goes to a piston that is in the spine.
This piston will give the robot a movement similar to that of a gecko. This allows the robot to scale things pretty quick and also makes it able to move in different directions. The second thing is that pressure will go through generators that will create a vacuum for the suction of the feet. This suction process is thanks to the turning motion of the water. Needless to say, this suction action makes it so the robot’s suction cups will stick to a smooth flat surface. Finally, the water is then sent out the side arm to wash the window.
As was said before, without batteries and motors the bot weighs less. However, that isn’t entirely true, at least the battery part isn’t. The bot does have a small battery that powers the wireless communication system and gives some signals to control the direction it is going. Besides that, the robot is impressively gecko-like and has potential to possibly do more than wash windows in the future.