Wall-climbing robot gecko

I like robots. I’ve blogged recently about how they’re on Mars looking for signs of water, and walking through the woods for the military.

Now some bright guys at Stanford have created a robot that can climb up smooth surfaces like a gecko. The control systems are impressive, but I find the “stickiness” mechanism the most interesting bit. They use “anisotropic dry adhesive materials and structures”. The “anisotropy” bit means a material that acts differently in different directions: that is, it’s sticky when moved one way, but not (or less) sticky when moved another way. This lets the robot stick, move, and re-stick.

Sure it’s got a ways to go before it reaches real gecko speeds, but it’s a very cool step.