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Sticky robot scales walls

SRI International reveals, wall-climbing, electroadhesive robot.

SRI International has announced the development of a wall-climbing robot that uses a new electrical adhesive technology called "compliant electroadhesion" that can stick to anything from brick to glass--even damp, dirty glass.

SRI International

Electroadhesion, or electrically controlled electrostatic attraction, is an electrically controlled adhesion technology that induces an electrostatic charge using a power supply connected to pads placed on the robot allowing it to scale walls, even those covered with dust or moisture, SRI says.

"Recent events such as natural disasters, military actions, and public safety threats have led to an increased need for robust robots--especially ones that can move in three dimensions," said SRI mechanical engineer Harsha Prahlad. "The ability to climb walls and other structures offers unique capabilities in military applications, such as urban reconnaissance, sensor deployment, and installation of network nodes in an urban environment."

Electroadhesion lends itself to a variety of wall-climbing robots, including tracked "tank"-style robots, as well as the more biomimetic-inspired, legged and inchworm-type robots, according to the company. The robots are simple, low-cost, easy to clean, and readily conform to different surfaces like bumps, corners, or cracks. And they're quiet, unlike other wall-climbers that use suction technology.

SRI International