Researchers from Disney Research Zurich and ETH have created a robot named VertiGo, which is able to move on the ground easily and even climb walls with effortless grace – thanks to the level of creative expertise that went into its design and construction.
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The ability of VertiGo to abandon the ground and take to walls is something that confounds other scientists, but the secret to this is that VertiGo has two propellers which can be tilted to help it climb walls, and it comes on four wheels.
The front two wheels can be steered for direction, and each of the wheels in this pair has a propeller that is able to adjust the direction of the robot’s thrust. To climb and move easily on a wall, the robot’s propellers must be able to provide the needed thrust to enable it move over rough walls such as masonry.
One propeller could have been used, but two provides the robot with the agility to take to the wall from the floor, and the rear propeller provides the thrust required to climb the wall via an upward direction with the help of the front propeller, resulting in a flip onto the wall.
One of the main problems faced by the researchers in designing and creating VertiGo was in perfecting the vehicle weight and its thrust output ratio. So the creators of the climbing vehicle used a central carbon fiber baseplate to minimize its weight, and used 3D-printed components with carbon rods for wheel suspension and even the wheels.
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The baseplate upholds two thruster modules and the wheel suspension while also carrying wires and other electronic components. The wheels are fixed on double wishbone suspension. There are 8 actuators controlled individually in the vehicle, and there is an onboard computer to help control it by a human operator.