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SRI’s breakthrough electroadhesion technology, available for license, allows electrically controlled reversible adhesion to most surfaces.
Electroadhesion can address a wide range of industrial, biomedical, military, and consumer needs. For example, first responders could be provided with surface-climbing robots that allow real-time and longer-term reconnaissance of buildings.
Electroadhesion uses electrostatic forces between the substrate material (e.g., wall surface) and the electroadhesive surface. Electroadhesive pads are comprised of conductive electrodes that are deposited on the surface of a polymer.
When alternate positive and negative charges are induced on adjacent electrodes, the electric field sets up opposite charges on the substrate and thus causes electrostatic adhesion between the electrodes and the induced charges on the substrate.
The principle of operation is similar to electrostatic chucks used to hold silicon wafers or other specialized grippers for robotic handling of materials. The high compliance of the clamp is key to being able to adhere to a wide range of substrates. The technology also provides reversible adhesion to a number of surfaces with extremely low steady-state power consumption.
Other applications include robotic grippers, factory and laboratory automation, medical and surgical devices and supplies, and a variety of consumer products, from toys to temporary signage.