It is said that the ant is capable of lifting many times its body weight, which has been estimated to be 20-100 times depending on the particular species, so imagine if we could roboticize their ability, how cool would that be? Well that’s what researchers at Stanford have done when they created a gecko-like robot that is capable of lifting more than 100 times its weight.
According to the report from New Scientist, this ability comes from the robot’s feet on which there are adhesives placed. This helps to stabilize the robot while at the same time allowing it to climb up a wall. “The bots also move in a style that is borrowed from biology. Like an inchworm, one pad scooches the robot forward while the other stays in place to support the heavy load. This helps the robot avoid falls from missing its step and park without using up precious power.”
So is there a goal to creating such a robot? Wouldn’t it be better if we created a larger machine instead? Well as the video above demonstrates, the fact that it can climb up vertical surfaces means that it could potentially be used to deliver all kinds of things in the field, like medical supplies, weapons, surveillance equipment, or even used during construction where it could access places a normal machine couldn’t.
Now of all the bots that they’ve created, Stanford believes their most impressive is the μTug which can apparently drag 2,000 times its weight which according to researcher David Christensen, is the equivalent of a human being dragging a blue whale around.