Disney’s latest trick is a robot that climbs walls

4 Jan 2016

Disney’s VertiGo is a robot car that can transition from the ground to walls pretty easily

It seems everyone is trying to get in on the robotics craze at the moment, with Disney, author of many a childhood, the latest to show off its toys.

Not happy with penning the vast majority of your formative imagination, Disney has branched out into multiple innovative arms lately.

A few months back, for example, it revealed a really cool augmented colouring book that lets kids interact with the characters they have coloured in.

For a couple of years now, too, Disney World visitors have paid for things wirelessly with wristbands, while 3D printing is big business for the major entertainment company nowadays.

But the latest innovation by Disney is a robot that can walk up walls, manage almost any surface and, somehow, not look incredibly clumsy in the process.

Wake me up before you VertiGo go

Called VertiGo, with the ‘Go’ rotated around in a way we can’t manage in this font, the four-wheeled rover has two “tiltable propellers” that do all the cool stuff.

Each propeller has two degrees of freedom for twiddling the direction that the thrust heads in. This means that, by positioning them correctly, just above the rover, they can apply enough downforce to keep it functioning even at a 90o angle to the ground.

The need for two propellers is purely to allow for getting off the ground and onto the wall, with one pressing the rover down and the other providing enough juice to get those wheels working.

Carbon fibre and 3D printing allow for a gizmo light enough to manipulate its way through gravity so successfully, with VertiGo working “theoretically” on the ceiling, too.

An on-board computer makes controlling this thing just like a regular remote controlled car, claims Disney, but I’m a bit dubious about that. As for the theoretical ceiling spins? I’ll wait and see.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic