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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Disney designed a robot car that can climb walls by itself

VertiGo uses two propellers to lift itself up and create traction, allowing it to drive on walls.

OF THE MANY things you would associate Disney with, robots might not be the first thing that would pop to mind (unless you’re thinking of droids), but it has developed one that can climb walls on its own.

Disney Research, along with ETH Zurich, have created a prototype robot called VertiGo that is capable of climbing wall without the need for modified wheels.

How it manages to do this is by using two steerable propellers that give it enough thrust to climb onto the wall.

The propellers act as traction for the robot by generating downward force – usually created by spoilers or other features on a car to help increase grip –  which allow it to transition from ground to wall and back again without trouble.

VertiGo wall climber Source: DisneyResearchHub/YouTube

When transitioning from ground to wall, the rear propeller uses thrust to propel it towards the wall while the front propeller pushes the robot up, resulting in a flip onto the wall.

It also means the surface it’s on, either the ground or wall, needs to be even for it to stick.

If a person wants to control it like a common RC car, an onboard computer is incorporated as a controller. The robot uses a 6-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) as well as infrared distance sensors mounted in front of it to estimate its orientation and decide the best positions for it.

Source: DisneyResearchHub/YouTube

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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