Video: Vortex-Powered Wall-Climbing Robot Parachutes To Safety

The huge variety of robots is a thing to marvel at. Just a few years ago, the best they could do was roll around or walk stiffly on poorly-hinged limbs. Now we have robots that gallop, slither, and fly like a bird. This mode of transportation is totally new to me, though. The Paraswift climbs up walls by generating a suction, then gets itself safely down by jumping off and deploying a little parachute. Why not, right?

Check out the video. The action happens about halfway in.

Paraswift is a collaboration between Disney Research and the Swiss Federal Research Institute. This demonstration took place during the International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots, held at the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris.

It generates the suction by creating a vortex “like a mini tornado” in a central tube; the vortex has a low-pressure center, and this pressure gradient, through a process known as sorcery, causes the robot to stick to the wall. Only the wheels need to be in contact with the climbing surface, which makes it much more useful for climbing surfaces like stone and concrete, which can be difficult to form a vacuum seal around.

Once it’s had enough climbing, the little wings deploy, spreading the glider/parachute, and it jumps to relative safety. I say relative because it looks like there’s a bit of a bump at the end there. They’ll work that out in version 2.

Unfortunately, the first use I can think of for these things is setting them to climb up apartment buildings and assassinate the fleshy humans within. So this one gets filed under Robocalypse.