Spider-Man robot spins own web to abseil off a cliff

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Spider-Man can leap off tall buildings and swing through the New York skyline by shooting a dragline from his wrist. Now there is a spider-inspired robot that can perform the same trick. It could be used to explore rocky planets, spinning itself a line to abseil down when it comes to the edge of a cliff, for example.

“Spiders travel around surface-free space between tree branches and can position themselves in mid-air,” says LiYu Wang, who has developed the robot alongside colleagues at the Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab at ETH Zürich in Switzerland.

###”There is no technology that allows a robot to do the same thing except flying, and then the amount of payload they can carry becomes a major issue.”

To spin the dragline, the robot uses thermoplastic adhesives, which are solid at room temperature but form a liquid when heated to around 70 °C.

A stick of the material is fed into a small chamber and heated, before being fired out of a nozzle into the open air, where it begins to harden into a line. As it is pushed out of the nozzle, the line passes between two motor-controlled wheels, which grab it and help to pull the cable out of the device.

*Also see http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-3190/9/1/016006/

*Also see http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-3190

Learn more here http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24933-spiderman-robot-spins-own-web-to-abseil-off-a-cliff.html#.U5cvlZRdXi8

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“Spider-Man robot spins own web to abseil off a cliff”