But, not in China, where researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese University of Hong Kong developed this versatile, fabric-climbing robot. Using a pair of gripper wheels to create and cling to a fold in the cloth, the robot creates a resulting wrinkle onto which it can roll easily; an omnidirectional tail allows for re-balancing. The machine has no issue climbing up cotton fabric or jeans.
If you’re unsure about its purpose, the scientists involved in its development claim that potential applications include the toy industry, an automated body-checker (if you’re okay with this contraption clinging on your newly ironed shirt) or even as a climbing mobile phone, which climbs up your shoulder (not that practical…).
The clothbot was present this week at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in St. Paul, Minn.