Researchers at Disney have developed a light-weight remote-controlled robot with 3D printed parts that can climb up walls quickly and with agility. VertiGo, a robot created in collaboration between Disney Research and ETH Zurich, has four wheels and two tiltable propellers that provide thrust onto the wall.
One pair of wheels is steerable, and each propeller has two degrees of freedom for adjusting the direction of thrust. By transitioning from the ground to a wall and back again, VertiGo extends the ability of robots to travel through urban and indoor environments, researchers said.
The use of propellers to provide thrust onto the wall ensures that the robot is able to traverse over irregular brick walls. Using a central carbon fibre baseplate the researchers minimised the weight of the robot, while 3D-printed parts along with carbon-rods were used for more complex three dimensional structures such as the wheel suspension and the wheels themselves.
The robot has eight individually controlled actuators. To allow a human operator to conveniently drive the vehicle in a way similar to common remote controlled cars, an onboard computer is incorporated as a controller.
It makes use of two infrared distance sensors, which are mounted in front, to estimate the robot's orientation in space. Based on this information, the controller then devises the best positions for all actuators to achieve a desired user input.