Disney Research's VertiGo
We might be looking at next year's must-have Christmas gift: Disney's research wing has just unveiled the VertiGo, a small robot car that can cruise along not only on the ground, but also walls.
Just watch the video embedded below - the VertiGo, which was designed in partnership with the ETH Zurich university, can approach a wall, flop up its back end to lay flat against the vertical surface, and then begin driving along the wall with ease. It's amazing.
How does it work? Well, it's the two large, tilting propellers in the middle that make this magic come to life. When it approaches the wall, the propellers provide enough thrust to get the VertiGo upright: the rear propeller thrusts the car towards the wall, and the front propeller provides upward thrust, completing the action in one swift movement.
Continued thrust from the propellers maintains the appearance of driving while airborne, with the lightweight 3D-printed parts allowing the vehicle to easily stay in the air as it glides along the wall. Disney's paper on the invention says it "supports the generation of all the forces required to drive on the floor, on walls and theoretically even on the ceiling" - so there might be even more tricks to be seen here.
At this point, it's just a research project, so there's no real indication of whether we'll see this as an awesome splinter of the consumer drone movement, or whether it'll go towards more functional purposes in the real world. In any case, it's a super cool video - solid dubstep placement, too - and if Disney doesn't jump on manufacturing the concept itself, we're sure to see some "tributes" on the market before too long.