Check out Disney's real wall-climbing robot!

Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) developed VertiGo, a mobile robot that can roll up walls. It uses two tiltable propellers that keep it rolling and also provide the thrust that keeps it against the wall when moving vertically.

“About why Disney is interested in this area, I am not able to say specifics as you can understand," Disney Research scientist Paul Beardsley told IEEE Spectrum. "But just speaking in general, one can imagine that robots with lighting effects could be useful for entertainment effects or for wall games. This also relates to the question of why the ground-wall transition is useful. If you have to manually place a robot on a wall at the start of a deployment, and manually remove it at the end, then that's taking manpower and it's not flexible. If the robot can make those transitions automatically, then you are a step in the direction of autonomous deployment, and that makes the technology more powerful. We are motivated by making a practical device, so it is real-world feedback and challenges that drive our work.”

Notable Replies

  1. One step closer to Skynet.

  2. Could it wash windows? (And solar panels?)

    With higher thrust bursts the thing could fly shorter distances. (Use four propellers as a quadcopter for a better hybrid air-ground performance.) Enough to get from the ground to the window or to the tilted panel, and back.

    So, can we mate it with a Roomba and wait for the offsprings?

  3. Shuck says:

    It's gripping - and relying on being pressed against - the wall, it's not free-floating, so it's climbing, I'd say. The copter-with-a-shoe-on-a-string is the wrong analogy, I think. If you had a bipedal robot that lifted each foot into place by using a propeller rather than an internal motor (with its other foot on the ground holding the weight of the thing), it'd still be walking.

  4. It's more like rolling against a wall, if one is interested in the technical challenge. But the word "climb" does not specify the means of going up, just the direction, so it works too.

    I'm just happy it wasn't titled a "drone" something.

  5. ground never see them coming, all you hear is a whir and you see a ripple in the tall grass.

    when they make these car size i'm going to buzz around the city driving everyone up a wall.

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