Scientists in the U.S. has managed to replicate the design principle of a foot lizards. This allows a robot walking up to a glass surface. Next, the scientists want to allow even people.
Stickybot developed in the United States is one of the robots that can climb like a gecko on a vertical surface. Initially, the surface remains to be rough, like a brick wall. Meanwhile, the robot can also climb on the smooth surface, holding about a glass dish.
To teach Stickybot to climb, Mark Cutkosky and his team of scientists from Stanford University in California created the foot lizard. Gecko toe consists of lamellae, which is filled with lots of hair. It’s finer than a human hair.
Hair is divided at the end, the fibers are very small molecules interact with surfaces, which will make the lizard climbing: It creates an attractive force, called van der Waals force, which holds the gecko on the wall.
The designers have recreated this principle to Stickybot: They develop artificial materials that have the same effect as the toes of geckos. The solution is a rubber-like materials with tiny hairs from the polymer.
Initially, the robot is able to survive only on rough surfaces. Meanwhile, scientists at Stanford has gone further developed so that it can climb on smooth surfaces Stickybot and feet are also keeping a higher weight. Liabilities increase achieved in that it makes a thin polymer fibers, they write an essay that recently appeared in U.S. journal Applied Physics Letters.
The advantage of this design: it applies only in one direction. Taking gecko feet in the opposite direction away from the surface, he could without a resist – not like, an adhesive tape that must be painstakingly removed.
“Other adhesives are sort of like walking around with chewing gum on your feet: You have to press it into the surface and then you have to work to pull it off. But, with directional adhesion, it’s almost like you can sort of hook and unhook yourself from the surface,” Cutkosky said.
Once the researchers have brought Stickybot to go up to the window, the next step is obvious: he must also come down. Since adhesion in only one direction, they need to change the design Stickybot:
“The new Stickybot that we’re working on right now has rotating ankles, which is also what geckos have,” he said.
In addition, this technique is not only reptiles and robots are reserved : Also, people should continue to ride in style superhero for buildings. Scientists are working to adapt the material so it can also be used of a man.
Source: Stanford University