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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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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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