Engineers design robot capable of climbing walls (8/21/2007)
Robotic research at the University of Canterbury has climbed new heights with the development of a wall-climbing robot.
|Professor XiaoQi Chen with the wall-climbing robot|
The robot has been developed by a team of researchers lead by Associate Professor XiaoQi Chen in the University's Mechanical Engineering department.
The team is working on developing a range of mobile machines, including an underwater robot, an autonomous guided vehicle and a flying robot. The wall-climbing robot is the first of its projects to be developed to prototype stage.
"It's a very exciting development for us," said Professor Chen.
"I think it will make a huge contribution to robotics research worldwide."
Professor Chen said the robot, which took eight months to develop from concept to prototype stage, was unique in that it could climb on all surfaces.
"There are other wall-climbing robots being developed overseas but they can only work on certain surfaces or in certain conditions. Our robot is more ubiquitous in terms of mobility. It can work on all kinds of surfaces - concrete, glass, wood, and on surfaces with cracks or gaps. It can also walk on ceilings," he said.
Professor Chen could not reveal how the robot worked as the team was currently investigating patents. However, he said other wall-climbing robots being developed used either suction techniques, electromagnetic principles or nano-fibre based dry adhesion.
"No-one else is using the kind of design we are or applying theoretical principles as we are to achieve this ubiquitous mobility. It is unmatched by any other wall-climbing robots in the world."
Professor Chen said such a robot could have a range of industrial or commercial uses.
"It could be used for building or wall inspections, repair work, cleaning or welding of containers or ships, security or surveillance - anything that requires vertical surface work."
However, some work was still needed to make the robot commercially viable.
"We now have to make it more practical in terms of operation. It's tethered now by tubing and cables so we need to get it untethered and operating without those lines. That's a very big step but it's certainly do-able."
Professor Chen said an onboard computer would be installed to make the robot autonomous, and sensors and perception technology would be developed and integrated to allow it to recognise and avoid obstacles. He said the team also had to look at how to adapt the technology to smaller or larger scale robots.
"This is not going to be a short-term effort but we're all looking forward to the challenge."
Professor Chen hoped to have a prototype underwater robot and an autonomous land robot working by later this year.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Canterbury
7/12/2009 3:55:16 AM MST
Excellent work!Prof Chen is awesome!!=)
6/24/2011 2:40:57 AM MST
can you please explain how it is working....it will help me learning.
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