This Four-Wheeled Robot Laughs in the Face of Gravity, Climbs Walls

ETH Disney Research VertiGo 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Be prepared to feel like you’re being tricked, even though you actually aren’t. This short clip presenting Disney Research’s newest creation will make you feel like you’re watching one of those videos where they turn the camera 90 degrees around and make the horizontal appear like it’s the vertical.
Only in this case it still wouldn’t matter, as this wheeled robot would still be climbing walls, one way or the other. Its name is VertiGo and is currently being developed by Disney Research, a lesser known division of the very well-known company it shares part of its name with, together with ETH.

Once you notice that those two ringy-things that move on top of the bare chassis are actually a pair of propellers, it all starts to make sense. Those two fans are the only means of propulsion employed by the lightweight robot and are powerful enough to move VertiGo at reasonably fast speeds.

They’re also responsible for holding the robot pushed firmly against the wall once it decides it’s time to defy gravity and start playing tricks with everyone’s minds. It’s not exactly rocket science, but a vehicle driving on a wall is actually a more striking image than a rocket flying through the air, so maybe that expression should change. It should be something like “it’s not Disney Research.”

When sports cars and supercars engineers talk about the downforce generated by their cars, they often say that, at a certain speed, it would be powerful enough to keep the vehicle planted on the wall or even ceiling of a tunnel. That’s what the VertiGo does, only thanks to the propellers, it can stay there even at zero speed.

But the real trick is the way VertiGo can make the transition from one plane to the other. Thanks to its large wheels and the fact that it has two swiveling fans instead of just one, it can get boost to move forward from the rear propeller and lift for the front wheels from the second one. It all seems so simple now that somebody’s done it.

Disney Research didn’t say what it plans to do with this great little toy, apart from wowing everyone who sees it in action. To be honest, we too are struggling to come up with a good use for it, especially now when everything it can do, a drone can do better. Any suggestions are welcomed.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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