At the Ben Gurion University in Israel, researchers have obviously been reading comics because their new robot is clearly inspired by spiderman. It’s called spiderbot and it can shoot out cables with magnetic tips enabling it to walk on metal surfaces. It weighs around 7 kilos, is 30 cms tall and has four grapplers that it can launch, detach and aim according to its path planning algorithm.
Alon Capua, Spiderbot’s project supervisor, says: “It suspends cables towards possible or known directions and in this way we are capable of moving inside a space and from one space to another.” The robot works using springs that eject magnets on long wires and an engine that returns the wire after it is fired. Scientists are also looking at ways to increase the power of its 28 engines so that Spiderbot could be used safely over long distances and outdoor surfaces. Once completed, the robot could move cargo or conduct rescue operations, say researchers. Amir Shapiro, a mechanical engineering professor at the university, says: “The application of spiderbot can be for saving survivors in the middle of the ocean where you can imagine people in the middle of the sea and two boats on the sides and the robots are hanging onto the sides of the boats and holding the survivors and carrying them up to the boat.” But Spiderbot is only the beginning – there is another robot in development. It moves like a caterpillar. So beware, the robots are coming!