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Disney's Research Lab Has Built a Wheeled Robot That Can Also Climb Walls

What do you get when you combine the mobile prowess of a RC car with two articulating propellers, similar to those found on aerial drones? Disney Research and a team over at ETH Zurich have developed a robot called VertiGo that is capable of climbing walls, seemingly throwing the laws of gravity out of the window.

In the past, engineers have built climbing robots that use vacuum technology to scale walls, with suction cups that mimic the anatomy of geckos and other animals. Instead of "sticking" to vertical surfaces, however, VertiGo uses the mechanical force known as thrust to get off of the ground and its wheels to maneuver around. "One pair of wheels is steerable, and each propeller has two degrees of freedom for adjusting the direction of thrust," the Disney Research team wrote [PDF] in a press release. "The choice of two propellers rather than one enables a floor-to-wall transition—thrust is applied both towards the wall using the rear propeller, and in an upward direction using the front propeller, resulting in a flip onto the wall."

To keep the weight of the robot down, the developers also explain that they used carbon fiber, as well as 3D-printed parts and carbon rods for some of the "complex three dimensional structures like the wheel suspension or the wheels themselves." There are eight individually-controlled actuators and a computer that allows the operator to control the propellers and drive the robot. The machine is not built to fly or hover like a drone, but as far as we know, there are zero drones that can do donuts on a playground wall.

For more information about the robot and the team responsible, click through to the VertiGo Project website.

[h/t: Hypebeast]

All images via VertiGo 

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fun
Can You Find the Money in Santa’s Sack in This Hidden Image Puzzle?
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A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks.
Vouchercloud

Vouchercloud, a website and app for online deals, brings us this holiday-themed test of your vision just in time for Christmas. Hidden among all the identical Santa Clauses carrying sacks of presents, one financially-savvy Santa is carrying a big sack of money. Can you figure out where he is? (Warning: Spoilers below.)

Spot him yet? If you’re stumped, check out the solution below. If this one was a breeze for you, try out a few more hidden-object puzzles here, here, and here. Or if you’re looking for something with a little more real-life relevancy, try to figure out where the snake is in this photo. Happy hunting!

A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks with the solution circled in red.
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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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