Not even walls can stop Disney’s and ETH Zurich’s new four-wheeled robot called VertiGo that can quickly transition from rolling on the ground to climbing obstacles like a gecko—and without those sticky feet.

So how does the VertiGo seemingly defy gravity? Atop the robot is a pair of steerable propellers that generate thrust, which pushes the vehicle against the wall. and keeps it from falling.


The propellers work similar to spoilers and other aerodynamic features on cars, which generate downward forces to help keep a race car pressed to the road to improve traction. But because the propellers on top of VertiGo can be steered, the robot can easily transition from horizontal to vertical surfaces, and back again. And neither surface has to be smooth for the robot to be able to ‘stick’ to it. As long as it has enough batteries to keep those props spinning, gravity doesn’t have a chance.

[Disney Research]