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Wall-Crawling Robot Can Use Sticky Lizard-Inspired Feet in Space
The sticky feet of a climbing, gecko-like robot developed by Simon Fraser University (SFU) researchers could be useful in space, according to recent tests done by the European Space Agency (ESA). SFU engineers developed techniques similar to those used in the microelectronics industry to create "footpad terminators" similar to the nanoscopic hairs on a gecko?s feet. Their climbing robot named Abigaille features six legs, each with four degrees of freedom for optimum agility, allowing the robot to get around obstacles by crawling vertically or horizontally. ESA researchers subjected the gecko-inspired dry adhesive materials to space-like conditions, finding the stickiness is retained throughout. In the future, the robot's ability to transition from the vertical to horizontal could be useful for going around a satellite or overcoming obstacles on the way to tending to spacecraft.
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