What happens when a robot meets an obstacle like say, a wall? Simple. The journey ends right there and then. However, that won’t be the case with VertiGo, a four-wheel robot developed by Disney Research and ETH Zurich, that conquer walls by scaling it. The idea is fairly simple, actually: it employs a pair of tilting rotors that pushes the robot to the wall as it propels across the wall. In fact, this concept has already been used in toys like the Parrot Minidrone.
Granted, Parrot’s version is not as sophisticated and doesn’t actually scale vertical surfaces. Instead, it is a flying quadcopter that’s able to ‘roll’ across the ceiling – thanks to its two thin but enormous wheels. But, the concept is basically the same: using the thrust generated by the propellers to push itself against a surface. There’s another remote control toy, dubbed B, that overcome land obstacle by turning itself into a quadcopter too.
Clearly, Disney Research and ETH Zurich’s creation is no toy and is therefore, more complex. VertiGo’s dual rotors setup allows it to transition from floor-to-wall by independent tilting of the props, such as adjusting the rear prop to push against the wall, while the front propeller provides the upward thrust to begin the climb. Pretty ingenious, we must say.