Scaling hard vertical surfaces with compliant microspine arrays

TitleScaling hard vertical surfaces with compliant microspine arrays
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsAsbeck, A. T., S. Kim, W. R. Provancher, M. R. Cutkosky, and M. Lanzetta
Conference NameRobotics: Science and Systems
Date Published06/2005
Conference LocationCambridge, MA

A new approach for climbing hard vertical surfaces has been developed that allows a robot to scale concrete, stucco, brick and masonry walls without using suction or adhesives. The approach is inspired by the mechanisms observed in some climbing insects and spiders and involves arrays of microspines that catch on surface asperities. The arrays are located on the toes of the robot and consist of a tuned, multi-link compliant suspension. In this paper we discuss the fundamental issues of spine allometric scaling versus surface roughness and the suspension needed to maximize the probability that each spine will find a useable surface irregularity and to distribute climbing tensile and shear loads among many spines. The principles are demonstrated with a new climbing robot that can scale a wide range of exterior walls.