They have come up with a climbing robot with special features that they say include high maneuverability on “flexible” clothes. Clothbot has an omni-directional tail of two DOFs, say the authors, so that it can change its center of gravity to control the moving direction on complex clothes. Consequently, Clothbot can access most positions by moving straight and turning around, with only four motors.
The other feature they point to is Clothbot’s gripper design, consisting of two parallel wheels that can grip continuously and stably on various kinds of clothes. Clothbot’s gripping mechanism creates cloth wrinkles and then proceeds up the wrinkle. Those who watched the Cloithbot video concluded that all the robots need are wrinkles to really get going; the robots use the wrinkles to move along, inspiring, for the researchers anyway, ideas for end applications such as electronic toys or very upwardly mobile phones for users at times when they need to be hands-free.
The Clothbot will not leave a lot of marks as a result of its movements; only slight folds remain. The authors suggest besides an application as a tiny pet device climbing on human bodies or a climbing phone that the Clothbot can be applied for body inspection.