Skip to comments.Gecko-Footed Robot Fit for Outer Space (article)
Posted on 01/21/2014 8:13:39 AM PST by fishtank
Gecko-Footed Robot Fit for Outer Space by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
Abigaille the robot can climb up smooth walls, but she leaves behind no residue, much like living geckos. Engineers at Simon Fraser University copied gecko design when they developed the robots tiny treads to navigate tight turns even while treading on vertical walls. How close did the inventors come to matching the precision capabilities of real gecko feet, which utilize a dry adhesive capability?
Dry adhesives could be very useful. In a 2011 technical report appearing in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, the design team described the locomotive part of the robot. They cited its potential use in space, security, surveillance and nuclear reactor cleaning.1 At its core is a timing belt climbing platforma track belt layered with fine fibers, each one with a small, mushroom-shaped cap on its end.1
Gecko foot pads have thousands of tiny fibers, too, but theirs are much smaller than anything humans can construct. The fibers interact with the reptiles walking surfaces. Manufacturing limitations make Abigailles foot fibers much larger than the lizards, requiring more surface area for the robots footpad to hold the same weight. Real geckos can stick to a ceiling with just a single foot while this robot needs full treads to cling to a wall.
Now, two years later, researchers have tested an updated version dubbed Abigaille-III, reporting their results in the Journal of Bionic Engineering and demonstrating the new robots potential for use in space.2 Abigaille-III uses the same fibers as the original robot, but this hexapod version has six legs, with separate treads on each. It may someday be used for everything from cleaning high rises to servicing satellites and even planetary exploration, according to Simon Fraser University News.3
Michael Henery, lead author of the 2014 report, told Discovery News, Weve borrowed techniques from the micro-electronics industry to make our footpad terminators. Technical limitations mean these are around 100 times larger than a geckos hairs, but they are sufficient to support our robots weight.4
If intelligent human engineers deserve credit for this amazing gizmo, how much more credit belongs to the One who engineered the superior biological machine they are so diligently trying to copy?
Krahn, J. et al. 2011. A tailless timing belt climbing platform utilizing dry adhesives with mushroom caps. Smart Materials and Structures. 20 (11): 110521.
Henrey, M. et al. 2014. Abigaille-III: A Versatile, Bioinspired Hexapod for Scaling Smooth Vertical Surfaces. Journal of Bionic Engineering. 11 (1): 1-17.
Meadahl, M. Robots sticky feet could aid space missions. Simon Fraser University News. Posted on sfu.ca January 3, 2014, accessed January 9, 2014.
Agence France-Presse. Wall-Climbing, Gecko Robot Could Scuttle in Space. Discovery News. Posted on news.discovery.com January 2, 2014, accessed January 9, 2014.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research
Article posted on January 20, 2014
My question is this: When will 'inventors' start paying patent royalties to God for bio-mimetic innovations?
Yes, yes, yes, I realize it's a silly rhetorical question, but the arrogance of the materialist-evolutionary community requires a few snarky retorts by those of us who know that there is a Creator.
You know they still cant put evolution and how our brain works together yet. Its an anomaly they we are smart since the top tier of the ocean, Sharks, have very small brains and intelligence does not evolve to the top of the food chain.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
If the gecko breaks down, is that a reptile dysfunction?