HAMR-E has a special running pattern with three foot pads that always touch the surface when the legs swing.
Engineers have developed a sticky-footed microbulb that can climb up and down in tight, complex spaces.
The winemaker robot, called HAMR-E (Harvard Ambulatory Micro-Robot with Electroadhesion), weighs 1.48 grams and features electro-adhesive foot pads, origami ankle joints and a specially designed walkway. This can help to climb on vertical and upside-down conductive surfaces, such as the inner walls of a commercial jet engine, which is inaccessible to human workers.
It is the "first and most convincing step" that demonstrates the possibility of a centimeter climbing robot and it could be used in the future to "explore any type of infrastructure, including buildings, pipes, engines, generators," said Robert Wood from Harvard University.
The footplate of HAMR-E was equipped with a polyimide-insulated copper electrode to force electrostatic forces between the pads and the conductive surface.
The footpads can be easily turned on and off by turning the electric field on and off working at a similar voltage. The study has shown that the legs of the robot move like this that the robot can not slip or fall off.
In addition, the padding is flexible, allowing the robot to climb on curved or uneven surfaces.
They also include origami-type ankle joints, which rotate in three dimensions to compensate for the rotation of the legs when walking and to provide orientation.
HAMR-E also has a special running pattern in which three foot pads during the leg touch the -swinging surface.
Tests on vertical and upside-down surfaces showed more than 1
The robot can also run a curved, upturned section in a jet engine.  "Now these robotic machines can move back and forth in three dimensions instead of just moving on a flat surface, there is a whole new world in which they can move and interact with," said lead author Sebastien de Rivaz, a former research associate at Harvard University who now works at Apple.
"They could one day enable non-invasive inspection of hard-to-reach areas of large machines, save businesses time and money, and make these machines safer," added Rivaz.
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