Scientists have developed a soft, flexible robot that resembles a leech and can climb up a wall.
Wall climbing robots have a wide range of potential application, including building inspection and maintenance, and search and rescue tasks at disaster sites.
The team from Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan and University of Cambridge in the UK created LEeCH (Longitudinally Extensible Continuum-robot inspired by Hirudinea) with material used for shower hose, and two suction cups.
Climbing straight up vertical walls is fairly easy to accomplish, however, in reality, the robot may have to navigate over obstacles on the wall such as steps and transition to walls with different directions, researchers said. The hardest task, however, is to reach the other side of the wall.
“I came up with the idea in the bathroom of my house.
The shower hose went wild as if it had a life when I inadvertently turned on the faucet at maximum,” said Ayato Kanada, lead author of the study published in the journal Soft Robotics.
“Then, an idea occurred to me that if I could manipulate a hose, I might be able to make a robot with dynamic movement of living creature,” Kanada said.The team has developed a robot inspired by land leeches, which are excellent climbers in nature. Their bodies are so light and soft that they are not subject to great damage from a fall from height.