Wall Climbing Robot

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Group Design Project
Design and Manufacture of a Wall Climbing System with Surveillance Capabilities using NI myRIO
Group Members
Alexis Hadjivassiliou, Wei Hoe Keum, Jason Lai, Muhammad Shazwan Salimin, Luke Stoneman

Dr. Dina Shona Laila, Robert Stansbridge

National Instruments

Our team prototyped a compact, quiet and low power consumption wall climbing system to provide surveillance of large temporarily occupied spaces. The advantage is reducing cost and surveillance system setup lead times. We propose that a wall climbing system is advantageous over other autonomous robotic systems in the given application. The system is operated with the NI myRIO and LabVIEW software, offering advanced programming functionality with a graphical user interface.

Electro-adhesion is our chosen adhesion method, which requires a form of electrostatic chuck, applied high voltage potential between two electrodes (up to 4 kV) and a dielectric sheet. This produces the desired electrostatic attraction. We explored the benefits of complex electrode shapes for optimal attraction force, particularly on challenging non-conductive surfaces. Manipulating the acquired suction force between the pads and wall surface was instrumental to climbing success. Final systems pads have dimensions 240 x 100 mm2 and adopt a comb electrode design.

A central linear actuator is responsible for our controlled vertical ascent or descent. The structural components were designed to connect the pads to the linear actuator, with major concern for minimising system weight and wall clearance. A tail has been designed to balance the system, and allow the temporary attachment of the camera system. The swift lead times of 3D printing allowed for continual design iteration and complex designs. Pads could be easily interchanged if necessary.

A single handmade electro-adhesion pad (electrode surface area 60 mm2) held a payload of 300 g on a vertical aluminium surface with 4 kV DC applied. 25 g payload could be held in an identical test on a vertical plywood surface, demonstrating the challenges of electro-adhesion technology on non-conductive surfaces. The final system weighed 180 g, and 264 g with the attached adjustable camera system. Conservative average speeds of 22 cm/min were possible on vertical metal surfaces. The system could perch securely on smooth non-conductive surfaces. During system operation, it is possible to wirelessly capture and store live video feed to serve use to the consumer.

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