Gecko-inspired climbing behaviors on vertical and overhanging surfaces

TitleGecko-inspired climbing behaviors on vertical and overhanging surfaces
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSantos, D., B. Heyneman, S. Kim, N. Esparza, and M. R. Cutkosky
Conference NameRobotics and Automation, 2008. (ICRA 2008). IEEE International Conference on
Date Published05/2008
Conference LocationPasadena, CA
ISBN Number978-1-4244-1646-2
Accession Number10014661

The adhesive and frictional properties of dry adhesive materials can be described by a three-dimensional limit surface in the space of normal and tangential contact forces at the feet. We present the empirically derived limit surface for directional adhesive pads and illustrate its application to controlling the forces at the feet of a robot climbing on arbitrary slopes, including overhanging surfaces. For the directional adhesive patches that we have developed, the limit surface is convex, which permits efficient computation of the desired internal and external forces among the feet to maximize a safety margin with respect to disturbance forces on the robot. The limit surface also intersects the origin in force space, which enables efficient climbing without wasting energy in attaching and detaching the feet. These insights are applied to an experimental climbing platform demonstrating the proper use of directional adhesion and mimicking the climbing behavior seen in geckos.