This new thrill-seeking robot actually base-jumps. That’s right, a robot seeking thrills and showing off. It will climb up the side of a building, then jump off and deploy a paraglider to fly back down to Earth.
Presumably just before each jump it says something clever, like “Geronimo” or “allons-y” and I’m sure it has a tattoo that says “Death from above”. We all know that’s where this is going anyway.
It’s name is Paraswift and it boasts an on-board video camera to film the jump. The bot was born from an unholy union between Disney Research and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. It’s the first bot in it’s size class to be able to both climb and fly. It may be showing off now, but it has some potential when it comes to serious uses as well. For instance it could gather aerial footage for 3D modeling systems and help with projects like Google Street View.
It climbs and sticks to surfaces thanks to a rotor spinning in a tube, which creates a vortex that lets it stick to the wall as it climbs. Think of it as a mini tornado. The pressures created make it stick to the wall.
Switching from climbing to flight needs some work and has been a challenge for the team. Right now, the paraglider is deployed by remote control by a mechanical arm. When the paraglider opens, the vortex is turned off and the robot simply falls off the wall.
All I can say is, look up and do it often. And wear a helmet.
[via New Scientist]