I always wanted to make a portable robot (which fits in a hand luggage to be transported by a plane) with a significant payload capability (at least 0.5kg) which could navigate in the same places I can.
Obvious solution is a flying robot. Unfortunately only very small flying vehicles are safe to operate indoors. For a wheeled or tracked vehicle the biggest obstacle indoors is stairs. There are lots of solutions but most of them require robot or a wheel size to be related to a particular stair step height making robot not usable for all kinds of stairs. Also it would be very useful if robot could not only climb stairs but for example go from a floor to a windowsill. Then a single, camera equipped, robot could inspect all sides outside the house by periodically looking though different windows.
I was inspired by YouTube videos of wall climbing robots using pneumatic vacuum suction cups. A robot which can walk on walls and ceilings can easily bypass stairs and should have no problem to navigate from a floor to a windowsill and back. Most of the buildings have hard and smooth surfaces ideal for vacuum suction cups. Unfortunately all such robots I have seen were tethered to external vacuum source. So I was not sure if it is even possible to make a small robot with a sufficiently powerful vacuum pump on board to climb the wall. But I was excited enough to try and after a lot of failures I have succeeded to make a robot which can stick to even plaster wall. So I created this blog to share my journey.
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- Early prototypes