Super-Strong-Teeny-Tiny Robots Pull Huge & Heavy Loads

Stanford University scientists have created mini robots that can climb walls like a gecko and carry cargos more than 100 times their own weight. The mighty bots will be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Seattle Washington (May 26-30, 2015).

As with geckos, the secret is in having controllable adhesion in their feet. In geckos, each toe is covered in flaps of skin (lamellae), which are in turn covered in arrays of microscopic hair-like structures (setae). The robot’s synthetic feet have tiny rubber spikes that grip firmly onto the wall as it climbs.

The spikes bend when pressure is applied, which increases their surface area, which in turn makes them stickier. When the mighty bot picks its foot back up, it detaches easily because the spikes straighten out.

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