SRI International is working on a new technology called 'compliant electroadhesion
,' which could lead to delicate robot grippers, and even wandering droids that climb walls made of common building materials. By running an electrostatic charge through a specially designed polymer, SRI draws the robot's padded underbelly to conductive and non-conductive materials alike. In tests, 'bots using an electroadhesive tread were able to climb vertical surfaces made of steel, brick, concrete, glass, wood and drywall. Designers have also applied the material to a gripper, which will pick up almost anything, regardless of shape or size, without applying so much force that the object becomes damaged. Check out a video of the wall-climbing 'bot after the break.