If you’re fascinated by animals that can stick to and climb walls (well, they happen to mostly be invertebrates and lizards), wait until you see a robot that can do the same thing. The researchers at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, have recently designed a robot that can stick to walls and ceilings and easily glide around effortlessly.
The robot uses special grippers that generate an adhesion force on just about any surface, by compressing extremely fast-moving air to create a low-pressure vortex that pulls the robot towards nearby surfaces without actually touching them. The robot then makes use of wheels to roll along those surfaces though the grippers never make any contact with them.
The grippers were previously used to pickup lightweight objects that are sterile or fragile (since there is no contact involved, it makes perfect sense) and were modified to be five times stronger in order to move the robot. No word on what these robots will be used for, but could this signify the start of wall-climbing shoes? Check out a video demonstration of the gripper robot: