Volume 25 Issue 12 - Publication Date: 1 December 2006
Scaling Hard Vertical Surfaces with Compliant Microspine Arrays
A.T. Asbeck, S. Kim, M.R. Cutkosky School of Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305--2232, USA, W.R. Provancher Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9208, USA and M. Lanzetta University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
A new approach for climbing hard vertical surfaces has been developed that allows a robot to scale concrete, stucco, brick and masonry walls without using suction or adhesives. The approach is inspired by the mechanisms observed in some climbing insects and spiders and involves arrays of microspines that catch on surface asperities. The arrays are located on the toes of the robot and consist of a tuned, multi-link compliant suspension. The fundamental issues of spine allometric scaling versus surface roughness are discussed and the interaction between spines and surfaces is modeled. The toe suspension properties needed to maximize the probability that each spine will find a useable surface irregularity and to distribute climbing loads among many spines are detailed. The principles are demonstrated with a new climbing robot, SpinybotII, that can scale a wide range of flat exterior walls, carry a payload equal to its own weight, and cling without consuming power. The paper also reports how toe parameters scale with robot mass and how spines have also been used successfully on the larger RiSE robot.
Multimedia Key
= Video = Data = Code = Image
Example 1: A video of SpinybotII climbing various buildings around the Stanford campus and some close shots of its feet and toes engaging asperities. (41.0 MB) mpg
Return to Contents