Latest in Climbing

Image credit:

Climbing robot melts and cools plastic to get its footing

Nicole Lee, @nicole
05.08.13
1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

We've seen plenty of robots scale walls over the years, from models that emit supersonic streams of air to gecko-inspired creations, but few can carry more than their own weight, much less handle rough terrain. Enter this unique Swiss-made machine, which handles both tasks with aplomb thanks to the rapid melting and cooling of its thermoplastic adhesive feet. Created by the whiz kids over at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the plastic compounds in the contraption's tootsies melt at around 70 degrees Celsius (158 Fahrenheit), where they're tacky enough to stick and fill surface gaps. If the bot needs to take a step forward, a thermoelectric effect kicks in to cool the plastics down, detaching the foot in the process. Repeat the motion several times and you get a tiny climbing critter that's able to carry about six to seven times its own weight over complex surfaces, a feat that's sure to be of actual use someday. It's certainly more practical, though a lot less fun, than one that mixes cocktails. Go on after the break to see the little climber in action.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' season 3 arrives January 24th

'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' season 3 arrives January 24th

View
Apple may offer tighter iOS parental controls this week

Apple may offer tighter iOS parental controls this week

View
Bethesda stops work on 'The Elder Scrolls: Legends'

Bethesda stops work on 'The Elder Scrolls: Legends'

View
Apple TV+ scores its first award nomination with 'The Morning Show'

Apple TV+ scores its first award nomination with 'The Morning Show'

View
Snapchat's Cameo test slips your face into GIFs

Snapchat's Cameo test slips your face into GIFs

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr