Robot Offers Hope to Would-Be Spidermen

Electric adhesion allows machine to scale walls carrying 75 pounds
By Laila Weir,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2008 3:30 PM CDT
Robot Offers Hope to Would-Be Spidermen
A new wall-climbing robot uses electrically activated adhesion to scale surfaces.   (SRI International)

Researchers have created a wall-climbing robot that uses electrically activated adhesion to get up any surface—dusty, wet, glass or concrete. Other Spiderman-imitating machines use a different kind of gecko-inspired technology and generate stronger sticking power than the new ‘bot, but the simplicity of the approach means it could work for human wall-climbing, MIT Technology Review reports.

"There is no fundamental reason why you can't scale this up to, say, 200 pounds," the robot's creator says—meaning, with large enough hand pads, it could carry people. The electroadhesion approach requires a power source to keep it sticky, but is self-cleaning, unlike the gecko-imitating technology. Applications for the ‘bots include military uses. (More robot stories.)

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