Directional arrays of branched microscopic setae constitute a dry adhesive on the toes of pad-bearing geckos, nature's supreme climbers. Geckos are easily and rapidly able to detach their toes as they climb. There are two known mechanisms of detachment: (1) on the microscale, the seta detaches when the shaft reaches a critical angle with the substrate, and (2) on the macroscale, geckos hyperextend their toes, apparently peeling like tape. This raises the question of how geckos prevent detachment while inverted on the ceiling, where body weight should cause toes to peel and setal angles to increase. Geckos use opposing feet and toes while inverted, possibly to maintain shear forces that prevent detachment of setae or peeling of toes. If detachment occurs by macroscale peeling of toes, the peel angle should monotonically decrease with applied force. In contrast, if adhesive force is limited by microscale detachment of setae at a critical angle, the toe detachment angle should be independent of applied force. We tested the hypothesis that adhesion is increased by shear force in isolated setal arrays and live gecko toes. We also tested the corollary hypotheses that (1) adhesion in toes and arrays is limited as on the microscale by a critical angle, or (2)on the macroscale by adhesive strength as predicted for adhesive tapes. We found that adhesion depended directly on shear force, and was independent of detachment angle. Therefore we reject the hypothesis that gecko toes peel like tape. The linear relation between adhesion and shear force is consistent with a critical angle of release in live gecko toes and isolated setal arrays, and also with our prior observations of single setae. We introduced a new model,frictional adhesion, for gecko pad attachment and compared it to existing models of adhesive contacts. In an analysis of clinging stability of a gecko on an inclined plane each adhesive model predicted a different force control strategy. The frictional adhesion model provides an explanation for the very low detachment forces observed in climbing geckos that does not depend on toe peeling.
This paper presents an integrated, systems level view of several novel design and control features associated with the biologically-inspired, hexapedal, RiSE robot. RiSE is the first legged machine capable of locomotion on both the ground and a variety of vertical building surfaces including brick, stucco, and crushed stone at speeds up to 4 cm/s, quietly and without the use of suction, magnets, or adhesives. It achieves these capabilities through a combination of bio-inspired and traditional design methods. This paper describes the design process and specifically addresses body morphology, hierarchical compliance in the legs and feet, and sensing and control systems that enable robust and reliable climbing on difficult surfaces. Experimental results illustrate the effects of various behaviors on climbing performance and demonstrate the robot's ability to climb reliably for long distances.
For aerial robots, maintaining a high vantage point for an extended time is crucial in many applications. However, available on-board power and mechanical fatigue constrain their flight time, especially for smaller, battery-powered aircraft. Perching on elevated structures is a biologically inspired approach to overcome these limitations. Previous perching robots have required specific material properties for the landing sites, such as surface asperities for spines, or ferromagnetism. We describe a switchable electroadhesive that enables controlled perching and detachment on nearly any material while requiring approximately three orders of magnitude less power than required to sustain flight. These electroadhesives are designed, characterized, and used to demonstrate a flying robotic insect able to robustly perch on a wide range of materials, including glass, wood, and a natural leaf.
This paper describes a novel, controllable adhesive that combines the benefits of electrostatic adhesives with gecko-like directional dry adhesives. When working in combination, the two technologies create a positive feedback cycle whose adhesion, depending on the surface type, is often greater than the sum of its parts. The directional dry adhesive brings the electrostatic adhesive closer to the surface, increasing its effect. Similarly, the electrostatic adhesion helps engage more of the directional dry adhesive fibrillar structures, particularly on rough surfaces. This paper presents the new hybrid adhesive's manufacturing process and compares its performance to three other adhesive technologies manufactured using a similar process: reinforced PDMS, electrostatic and directional dry adhesion. Tests were performed on a set of ceramic tiles with varying roughness to quantify its effect on shear adhesive force. The relative effectiveness of the hybrid adhesive increases as the surface roughness is increased. Experimental data are also presented for different substrate materials to demonstrate the enhanced performance achieved with the hybrid adhesive. Results show that the hybrid adhesive provides up to 5.1Â greater adhesion than the electrostatic adhesive or directional dry adhesive technologies alone.
Two rehabilitation devices, or personal aids for mobility and monitoring (PAMM), for use by the elderly are presented. The devices are intended to delay the transition from eldercare (assisted living) facilities to nursing homes. The robotic PAMMs provide support, guidance, and health monitoring. Two experimental systems are described: a cane and a walker. Issues of mobility, sensing, and control, as well as experimental data from trials in an assisted living facility using both systems are presented.
Stickybot is a bioinspired robot that climbs smooth vertical surfaces such as glass, plastic, and ceramic tile at 4 cm/s. The robot employs several design principles adapted from the gecko including a hierarchy of compliant structures, directional adhesion, and control of tangential contact forces to achieve control of adhesion. We describe the design and fabrication methods used to create underactuated, multimaterial structures that conform to surfaces over a range of length scales from centimeters to micrometers. At the finest scale, the undersides of Stickybot's toes are covered with arrays of small, angled polymer stalks. Like the directional adhesive structures used by geckos, they readily adhere when pulled tangentially from the tips of the toes toward the ankles; when pulled in the opposite direction, they release. Working in combination with the compliant structures and directional adhesion is a force control strategy that balances forces among the feet and promotes smooth attachment and detachment of the toes.
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