Monday, October 18, 2021

Base Jumping Robot, Paraswift

We thought we had seen it all but students from ETH Zurich have teamed up with Disney Research to create the first climbing and flying robot system.

This is yet another perch and stare method, but in the words of its creators.

Technology with entertainment factor – this is the principal object of project Paraswift. During one year we develop a wall climbing robot, which doesn’t just climb down again after it reached the top! Instead, it opens a paraglider, drops off the wall and lands safely in front of the surprised audience.

The robot uses a  an impeller to create a vortex that lets it stick to the wall as it climbs.

“It’s like a mini tornado within the robot,” says ETH student Lukas Geissmann, who presented Paraswift yesterday at the Conference on

Paraswift preparations.

Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines in Paris, France, in collaboration with Paul Beardsley of Disney Research. The centre of this vortex is low pressure, just like the centre of a tornado, and the pressure gradient glues the robot to the wall.

“The big benefit of this is that you don’t need to have a seal between the physical robot and the wall because the vortex forms its own seal round the low-pressure area,” Beardsley says. That means only the robot’s wheels need touch the wall, and Paraswift can navigate the often rough surfaces of ordinary walls.

This is one of the major challenges in designing wall-climbing robots, says Metin Sitti of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: “It is very difficult to have a robust attachment mechanism that could work on a wide range of smooth and slightly rough surfaces in real-world conditions.”


Mechanical Engineering ETH

Marco Denuder
Lukas Geissmann
Dominik Keusch
Lukas Pfirter
Dario Röthlisberger

Electrical Engineering ZHAW

Michael Ritter
Pascal Thoma

Industrial Design ZHdK

Nadia Frei
Christa Rüetschi
Thierry Sollberger

Johnny Five is alive!

Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.