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By Devin Coldewey

The VertiGo robot from Disney Research and ETH Zurich can climb walls like a champ thanks to a non-traditional mode of propelling itself. A pair of propellers sit atop the chassis and can be redirected to send thrust in a variety of directions and combinations — pointing them backward makes the car go forward, for instance, while spinning them around would let it back up.

But when VertiGo comes to a wall, the propellers point up, pushing air away from the wall and pressing the bot against it. It's enough force that it can drive around on a vertical surface with no problem at all — allowing VertiGo to scale obstacles or get out of danger.

The vehicle has to be extremely light, though: the chassis is carbon fiber, and many parts are specially 3D printed to be strong without being heavy. VertiGo may be able to climb, but it won't be carrying any cargo with it.

VertiGo was created by Paul Beardsley at Disney Research and Michael Bischoff at ETH Zurich.