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The Gecko’s Toe: Scaling Directional Adhesives for Climbing Applications

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4 Author(s)
Hawkes, E.W. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA, USA ; Eason, E.V. ; Asbeck, A.T. ; Cutkosky, M.R.

In this paper, a bioinspired mechanism is presented that allows large patches of directional dry adhesives to attain levels of adhesion previously seen only for small samples in precisely aligned tests. The mechanism uses a rigid tile supported by a compliant material and loaded by an inextensible tendon, and is inspired by the tendon system and the fluid-filled sinus in gecko toes. This mechanism permits the adhesive to make full contact with the surface and have uniform loading despite significant errors in alignment. The single-tile mechanism is demonstrated on the StickybotIII robot and the RiSE climbing robot (gross weight 4 kg). A tiled array of these mechanisms is also presented, with a total adhesive area of 100 cm2. This uses a pressurized sac to equalize adhesive forces among the tiles, and exhibits a comparable adhesive pressure and range of loading angles to those of single tiles. These results suggest that the tiled array can be scaled to larger areas and loads.

Published in:

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

April 2013

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