It’s not quite a real gecko, but it does a good job of acting like one. The new robotic creation from Simon Fraser University is an impressive development in this type of technology. Researchers at the university have created a robot with a tank-like body that is able to scale walls. It has sticky toes that rather resemble those of a gecko, enabling it to climb up walls with ease. The compound is made up of clingy silicone that has been formed into tiny bumps. These bumps are shaped like mushroom caps and they are what allow the robot, weighing 240 grams, to cling to and climb up smooth surfaces. These surfaces include whiteboards and even glass and this makes the robot really useful.
It is hoped that one day this technology will mean that the robots can carry out dangerous tasks that humans may not always be able to do. While we can create impressive technology such as cars, televisions and O2 mobile phones, our capacity to survive in dangerous situations is still limited. The tasks that it is hoped the robots will be able to perform include cleaning nuclear power plants and doing search-and-rescue work in buildings that have collapsed.
The adhesives that are featured on the robots do not leave any residue behind, like tape or glue. The material is attracted to glass and the shape of the robot can also conform to its surface. This means that a much larger area will be able to come into contact with the surface and that the robots can be used to clean glass on skyscrapers. As well this, it will be able to inspect fragile bridges and ones that make it difficult for a human to inspect. Once this technology is perfected, hopefully the robots will prove to be very useful.