Three researchers from the Korea Advanced Insti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy (a lead­ing teach­ing and research uni­ver­si­ty in South Korea, locat­ed in Dae­jeon, found­ed in 1971), togeth­er with a col­league from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign (a pub­lic high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tion in the Unit­ed States, began its activ­i­ties in 1867) designed and built a work­ing four-legged robot with mag­ne­tized legs that could climb the walls and ceil­ings of met­al build­ings and struc­tures.

Four-legged robot can climb metal buildings and structuresFour-legged robot can climb metal buildings and structures
The archi­tec­ture of a four-legged robot with mag­ne­tized legs

In their Sci­ence Robot­ics arti­cle, Seung­woo Hong, Young Wum, Hae-Won Park, and Jae­joong Park explain its design and oper­a­tion, and describe how it per­forms in real-life test­ing. In par­tic­u­lar, it is not­ed that both mag­net­ic elas­tomers and elec­tro­mag­nets are used in the robot. Togeth­er, they allow the robot­’s legs to mag­ne­tize and demag­ne­tize on demand. By turn­ing mag­net­ism on and off, the robot can cling to a ver­ti­cal point on the wall with one foot and hold on while the oth­er legs stick, and then release one foot at a time to take steps.

In the course of their work on this mod­el of the robot, the researchers intend­ed to cre­ate such a mech­a­nism that could help a per­son in car­ry­ing out repair work in dan­ger­ous con­di­tions for humans, on large met­al struc­tures, such as bridges, oil tanks, and some build­ings and struc­tures that pose a dan­ger to humans. . The sci­en­tists were able to build a four-legged robot that could walk on a flat sur­face, approach a wall and walk straight along its side, like a spi­der, and then, if nec­es­sary, con­tin­ue mov­ing along the ceil­ing.

For their inven­tion, they see quite a lot of ways to use it, and as tech­nol­o­gy devel­ops, this range will only expand.

Flex­i­ble and ver­sa­tile climb­ing on fer­ro­mag­net­ic sur­faces with a four-legged robot is shown in the author’s final video, and its agile and ver­sa­tile climb­ing is also explained.

The researchers also had to pro­gram the robot to climb first and then con­tin­ue to move around or over­come obsta­cles. To do this, they built a mod­el of a cat’s behav­ior when test­ing an obsta­cle to over­come — before mov­ing for­ward, the cat takes tiny first steps with its front paws, and then move­ments of the hind legs are added.

Test results show that the robot is capa­ble of climb­ing met­al walls and walk­ing on ceil­ings in their test lab. Fur­ther tests showed that the robot was even able to climb an old open bulk tank with rusty walls.


By Yara