Researchers: Jonathan Clark, Jason Brown, and Max Austin
This exhibit displays biologically-inspired legged robots capable of dynamically (i.e. rapidly and agilely) running up vertical walls. These robots are inspired by bio-mechanical studies of how animals quickly run up walls. It turns out that diverse species, such as geckos and cockroaches, use similar principles to rapidly scale vertical surfaces. Key insights in how running on walls differs from across the ground include lateral in-pulling forces at the feet and pendular type oscillations of the body. Based on these observations, a series of reduced-order dynamical models have been built and analyzed. Design and control principles from these models have informed the development our our climbing robots. These bipedal and quadrupedal robots include the world’s fastest legged climber, the first robot to both climb a vertical wall and glide down, and the first robot to run in an animal-like way on horizontal and vertical surfaces. The small, bipedal version of these climbing robots are capable of scaling vertical surfaces at speeds up to 40cm/s or about two body lengths per second. By using various designs the feet achieve directional adhesion enabling them to rapidly scale surfaces such as cinderblock and stone-aggregate walls. Several example of the smallest of these robots will be demonstrated live on prepared surfaces. Exemplars of larger bipeds and quadrupedal robots that can both run horizontally and vertically will be shown via slides and videos demonstrating the principles behind the design and control of their running/climbing/gliding.
Team Lead: Jonathan Clark