Spiders photo

There are a whole range of scenarios, from security- or surveillance-related situations to natural disasters, in which it could be really useful to have a robot that can climb walls. But the idea gets so much traction because it’s also just flat-out cool.

We’ve covered the efforts to design machines that scale vertical surfaces using techniques borrowed from geckos, and another that uses vacuum forces. But this weekend, at a major robotics conference, researchers from SRI International will be discussing a different approach: electro-adhesion.

The SRI robots can clamp on to glass, wood, brick, concrete and more by using electrostatic charges generated by a battery. The materials used are compliant, so their robots can attach to just about any surface – rough and dusty or clean and flat.

In the future, they say the technology could allow humans to climb walls, too, whether they be Special Forces operatives or window cleaners.

Via Robots.net