Tankbot
A tank based wall climbing robot.

Goal: Develop a wall climbing robot using treads to obstain a constant, higher contact area.

Approach: Use a tank design to climb a steep surface with Van der Waals forces using a tacky polymer as treads.

Benefits: Simple design shown to work in many places. Successful climbing with only one actuator (for straight line motion), two actuators for steerable motion, or another actuator for an active tail.

Current Status: Multiple tank climbing robot prototypes were built and tested. Tankbot is able to climb smooth surfaces and make transitions between them, including external. The most recent prototype has an active tail for better climbing ability.

Videos:
Internal Transitioning with Active Tail Vimeo
Rough Surface Climbing Vimeo
Vertical Climbing with Small Obstacles and Varying Surfaces Vimeo
External Transitioning with Passive Tail Vimeo
Alice based tank climber (2x speed).avi (XVID), quicktime 7 format.
Initial Prototype Demo.

Members: Casey Kute

Former Members: Ozgur Unver, Mattias Greuter (EPFL), Carlo Menon, Metin Sitti

Other Wall Climbing Robots

Papers:
O. Unver, M. Sitti, "Tankbot: A Miniature, Peeling Based Climber on Rough and Smooth Surfaces" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2009. [pdf]
C. Menon, M. Murphy, M. Sitti, "Gecko Inspired Surface Climbing Robots" IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO), Shenyang, China, Aug 2004. pdf

[Most recent prototype]
[Initial Tankbot prototype]