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Spiderman's inanimate wall and ceiling crawler

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While a bit dear at $14K USD, the radio-controlled (R/C) robot, SpyBot Climber, is no doubt the first of a series of wall and ceiling crawlers that can deliver a nominal one pound payload over "many smooth and uneven vertical surfaces – wall board, plaster, brick, cinder block, and siding." It is said to be able to transit unaided an interior right angle (horizontal to vertical to horizontal), and can traverse a ceiling if first placed there. It does have limitations, e.g.., it can not traverse an external corner unaided nor can it transit from vertical to inverted.

Still, if it works as stated, it's advertised purpose of delivering a security cam to a point on a building can be turned into a delivery platform for a half-kilo of C-4 or Semtex. It is said to employ a six-wheel drive train that prevents wheel spin and uses a "patented technology to pull itself to surfaces" instead of the suction cups of earlier devices. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery pack provides some 45 to 60 minutes of combined travel and station-keeping time with a video cam and transmitter. (No mention is made as to its audio level as it traverses any specific surface, so much is still to be known.)

While it may be too clever by half in this incarnation, I can see a growing family of scaling climbers that incorporate the COTS (commercial off the shelf) capacity of the MegaScout and Scout teams of sensing devices for collaborative sensing under joint instruction from the MegaScout and a human operator. As noted in 3rdGen COTS robot teams for collaborative sensing, exploration, mapping, and independent team coordination, the lesser Scouts include a video camera, infrared range finders, light sensors and a pyroelectric sensor for sensing body heat.

I can see the same teamwork capacity among inanimate objects move into an urban environment, carrying sensors, cameras, comm links, and explosives. Security could get a bit harder still.

SpyBot Wall Climbing Camera Bot

3rdGen COTS robot teams for collaborative sensing, exploration, mapping, and independent team coordination

Gordon Housworth



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