Stanford researchers have patented a novel technology that enables a small robot to climb smooth, rough, uneven, porous and dirty surfaces, such as concrete, stucco, sandstone and similar building walls without the use of conventional adhesives or suction. The Spinybot robot uses arrays of small spines, which hook onto bumps and pits on the surface. Each spine is supported by its own compliant suspension to permit all of them to contact the surface and share the loads between them. The invention can be mass-produced at low cost with existing manufacturing technology. The robot's ability to climb vertically has been demonstrated at Stanford University. Stanford researchers have also patented a bio-inspired device designed to scale smooth vertical surfaces using anisotropic frictional materials. The device draws its inspiration from geckos and other climbing lizards and employs similar compliance and force control strategies to climb (or hang onto) smooth vertical surfaces including glass, tile and plastic panels. This invention has been extensively tested on the gecko mimicking robot ‘StickyBot.’ It can be used on climbing robots or in any other application requiring a temporary or directional adhesive – such as in devices currently employing suction cups.
Philip Levis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, introduces a full-duplex radio developed by his students -- a radio that can receive and transmit simultaneously.