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Project Lifetime: 
Sep 2006 to Nov 2015

MRI: Development of A New Generation of Mobile Robots with Wall-climbing and Reliable Communication Capabilities

Description: The objective of this research is to develop a new generation of mobile robots with wall-climbing and reliable communication capabilities. This new generation of mobile robots will be able to operate on essentially any types of rough or smooth surfaces, move on floors, climb walls, walk on ceilings, and transit between them, thus transforming the present 2-D world of mobile rovers into a new 3-D universe. The robots will contain highly-capable, highly-adaptive FPGA-based multiprocessor to support sensing, computing, communications, and dynamic reconfigurability of resources, enabling research and development in a wide range of tasks in urban search and rescue, surveillance, environmental monitoring, and planetary exploration.
The CityClimber is a prototype of a new generation of mobile robots that are capable of operating in three dimensions. The ability to move up walls and across ceilings allows these robots to operate in areas that would otherwise be inaccessible; and perform tasks that would otherwise be expensive or impossible. These robots can be used for building, aircraft or bridge inspections, which would otherwise require expensive scaffolding and put human workers at risk of injury. Consumer applications of wall-climbing robots may include tasks such as window cleaning and painting.

Traditional climbing robots have used adhesion techniques such as claws, magnetic devices, vacuum suction and van der Waals forces in the case of robots inspired by the gecko foot. These adhesion methods often limit the robot's payload and the surfaces it can travel on. The goal of our research is to overcome these limitations by producing a CityClimber robot which is small, lightweight, and capable of non destructive adhesion on both smooth and rough surfaces, with a strong attraction force that allows it to carry a significant payload and provides sufficient mobility for travel on various planar surfaces and is able to transit between them.

Sponsor: This project is supported by National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-0619577.

City-Climber VIDEO: