Check out Disney's real wall-climbing robot!


#1

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#2

It’s very interesting, but what benefits does this provide over a quad-copter? If Disney is developing this technology for mobile park lighting, why not just put some LED spotlights on a small drone?

I can’t imagine the power requirements are much less, unless future versions will have some way to passively anchor themselves on the wall.


#3

The wheels don’t appear to be powered. To say something’s “climbing” something else, doesn’t it have to be exerting force against it?


#4

That’s certainly an interesting approach to the problem.


#5

One step closer to Skynet.


#6

Could it wash windows? (And solar panels?)

With higher thrust bursts the thing could fly shorter distances. (Use four propellers as a quadcopter for a better hybrid air-ground performance.) Enough to get from the ground to the window or to the tilted panel, and back.

So, can we mate it with a Roomba and wait for the offsprings?


#7

Lower power consumption? Ability to ride on horizontal surfaces for large distances for little energy? Capability to anchor itself to the wall in some way (in next-gen device) and stay in position without spending energy?

That will be it. A magnet on some servo will be sufficient to hold to steel plates placed in strategic positions on the walls where it should perform.

The wheels appear to be passive, the tiltable propellers are the thrust source.


#8

Should be considerably less on the ground. But yes, this does appear to be a “copter on wheels”.


#9

Sure, but I’m still curious if that changes how we talk about its abilities, specifically in regards to “climbing” walls.

How about this: if we had a quad-copter that dragged a little shoe on the end of a string, one long enough to just barely scrape the ground as the drone flew overhead, we wouldn’t say the drone was “walking,” right?

I feel that for this to count as climbing, the wheels need to be powered. The fans could push the robot against the wall to provide grip, but if they’re instead what’s holding it up, I don’t think it counts.


#10

It’s gripping - and relying on being pressed against - the wall, it’s not free-floating, so it’s climbing, I’d say. The copter-with-a-shoe-on-a-string is the wrong analogy, I think. If you had a bipedal robot that lifted each foot into place by using a propeller rather than an internal motor (with its other foot on the ground holding the weight of the thing), it’d still be walking.


#11

It’s more like rolling against a wall, if one is interested in the technical challenge. But the word “climb” does not specify the means of going up, just the direction, so it works too.

I’m just happy it wasn’t titled a “drone” something.


#12

No, but I’d say a craft was walking if it had legs actuating it over a surface, whether it was attracted to the floor by the force of gravity, to the ceiling using magnets, or to the ceiling using a propeller on its top.

Technically, this thing is driving over the wall, but crawling could be good enough description too.


#13

A quad would probably be able to use the same anchoring system this rolling design would.
Outside of any environmental concerns, the only question would be which one could get the job done fastest and cheapest. I would be surprised if the power consumption on the rolling car would be considerably less than a traditional quad. I’m guessing the car is less efficient because it is lifting lots of dead weight in the wheels, and a lot of the vertical energy is being siphoned off for horizontal pressure.

Maybe the job of “rolling across campus and climbing a wall fast and efficiently”, would be better suited to a design that can leave the wheels behind as it ascends?


#14

ground drones…you never see them coming, all you hear is a whir and you see a ripple in the tall grass.

when they make these car size i’m going to buzz around the city driving everyone up a wall.


#15

If it’s driving when it’s moving over a level surface, then it’s climbing when it’s moving over a wall.

(More than that, it is exerting force on the wall, in the form of friction and pressure. It’s not just flying while incidentally touching a wall; the rotors are pressing it into the surface, helping it grip the wall in the same way a racing spoiler helps grip the road.)


#16

“About why Disney is interested in this area, I am not able to say
specifics as you can understand," Disney Research scientist Paul
Beardsley told IEEE Spectrum.

They spelled Skynet wrong.


#17

I’ve seen that documentary.


#18

And here I thought we had moved past dubstep…

In other news, Disney ground drone attack thwarted by strong winds.


#19

We’ve been making these for months in Besiege!


#20