Science-- there's something for everyone

Monday, August 16, 2010

ROCR, the wall climbing robot

William Provancher, the man who brought you the Active Handrest, plus Mark Fehlberg and Samuel Jensen-Segal, all from the University of Utah, have designed a robot that can go straight up walls. The Oscillating Climbing Robot, nicknamed ‘ROCR’, can climb any carpeted walls that provide access for its hook-like claws.

University of Utah mechanical engineer William Provancher watches as the efficient climbing robot he and colleagues developed scales a carpeted wall.

Credit: Mark Fehlberg, University of Utah

Although there are other robots that can climb walls, none have achieved the efficiency of ROCR. In other words, ROCR requires much less input energy to scale the same heights. In addition, at only 1.2 lbs and 18 inches from top to bottom, it’s compact enough to take to any desired location.

Climbing robots are in great demand to aid in inspection and maintenance of structures such as bridges. Obviously, a robot that requires a carpeted surface would have minimal real world use. However, Provancher is undaunted by this limitation:

While this robot eventually can be used for inspection, maintenance and surveillance, probably the greatest short-term potential is as a teaching tool or as a really cool toy.
I'll second that!