LAST YEAR, DISNEY created the VertiGo, a robot that can climb walls. I wanted to take that concept further, with a powered-up version of the drone, strong enough to carry a person.
The Ventooz lends itself to a variety of uses. It could carry people who inspect or repair buildings and structures like dams. It could serve as a rescue vehicle stranded in dangerous situations. Of course, it could create an adrenaline rush as a radical theme park ride.
So how does it work? Its four tires would wear section cups, similar to those of an octopus, to help glue itself to most surfaces. Two directional turbofans would provide downward force for extra sticking power. A hydrogen fuel cell or large battery pack would power the fans and the electric motors. Those motors run the wheels, so traction could also be used to help steer the vehicle in one direction.
To steer, the pilot, sitting inside an articulated cockpit, simply needs to pull one of the two levers located each side of him, orienting the fans to move forward or backward. Two vacuum pumps would release and secure the grip of the suction cups.
I’ve designed a lot of redundancy into the Ventooz, but the final configuration would depend on the available power, the surface the vehicle is climbing, how far it needs to go, the degree of maneuverability, and so on.
I developed the Ventooz concept with Argentine industrial designer Juan Garcia Mansilla. Juan also created the design of the Trident jetboat concept.