By Jianzhong Shang, Hernando Leon Rodriguez and Alina-Alexandra Brenner
A team of students from the department of Engineering and Design won the Industrial Robot Innovative Climbing Award and the BAE Systems second prize for developing a robot that can climb walls. The robot needed to climb a steel wall from its start position on the floor.
To meet competition rules the robot had to be able to find the wall, transfer on to it and then climb to the top avoiding 3 obstacles placed randomly by the judges. The final obstacle was a centimetre high ridge which the robot had to climb over. Operators couldn’t intervene once the robot was instructed to go.
The students designed and built the robot in about 4 months. It used permanent magnets to create the adhesion, an embedded computer to control 2 motors and found its way with infra red sensors that identified its location, the obstacles and side walls. It also incorporated gravity and tilt sensors to keep the robot moving straight up after going round the obstacles.