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Robotic Climber Scales 300 ft Vertical Smooth Surfaces

Robotic Climber Scales 300 ft Vertical Smooth Surfaces

What do you do when you have to climb and inspect a 300 foot tall wind turbine or a lighthouse? Aside from aerial reconnaissance or grabbing hold of the world’s largest crane or ladder, you might want to enlist some help. International Climbing Machines (ICM) has just the thing for this type of work – The Climber. The Climber aims to radically alter how elevated height work is performed. It’s basically a portable, remote-controlled device that can scale virtually any vertical or inverted surface. What happens to the men who previously performed those tasks, you ask? Um… they get to live. This is dangerous work – exactly the kind of thing you look to robotics to replace. ICM’s new Climber is operated from the ground – completely safe from everything except… well, falling Climber robots – but that hasn’t happened yet and the technology looks to be pretty solid.

Robotic Climber Scales 300 ft Vertical Smooth Surfaces

The Climber is a machine that can climb walls, tanks, ships, building structures, dams, towers, and more. The surfaces don’t even have to be entirely smooth for the Climber to work properly:

robotic climber 400 ft smooth wall

The robotic climber is held to the surface by vacuum force. Because of this, the machine will climb just about any hard surface: metal, concrete and brick included. The patented, highly flexible vacuum seal keeps the machine securely adhered as it navigates over surface obstacles such as bolt heads, plates, weld seams or virtually any surface irregularity.

robotic climber

So what do you do with a wall-climbing robot (besides paint it blue and red and decorate it with spider webbing)? ICM is planning on rolling out the robotic climber for a whole host of missions. Since you can attach any number of tools or sensors to the machine, software opens up The Climber to do just about anything. For inspecting wind turbines, for example, you can attach a video cameras and get a remote controlled, free-climbing video inspection device. Put on mechanical abraders (also housed in a vacuum chamber) and the ICM machine transforms into a climbing, cleaning, capturing device.

The robotic climber is a pretty cool invention that, if implemented properly, could actually end up saving lives. It goes without saying that it would also make the job of inspection and surface cleaning much easier.

Thanks to for the heads up.

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