Robot, robotoad III

Made by University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Queensland, 1995-1999.

John Billingsley, the Professor of Robotics at the University of Southern Queensland, began his career as a mathematician in Portsmouth in the UK. He developed auto-pilots for the aeronautical industry, and then went on to study control theory. He saw that the best way to apply control theory was via robotics. Professor Billingsley has developed many robots at the University of Southern Queensland, and advanced Australia’s standing in the area of Robotics.

Robotics is a field of mechanical aut...


Robotoad is constructed on an aluminium platform that has a perpendicular curvature at the rear, and two feet are attached to the bottom; the compressed air tubing array for controlling the foot suction sits on top of the platform, as does the electronics and cable port that connects to a PC. A cylinder with a hinged aluminium arm attaches the front leg array to the platform. The front legs have two suction feet and compressed air tubing. The toad ascends a surface by attaching itself to the surface with its compressed air-fed feet (a vacuum is created between the inside of the rubber foot and the surface) and then releasing one foot from the surface and moving it up; it re-attaches the foot and repeats the process with the next foot. It moves up in a horizontal letter H movement, that is, one front foot, then the next, then the process is mirrored by the rear feet (under the main platform of the unit).


350 mm
300 mm


Robotoad was developed by a student of Professor Billingsley at the University of Southern Queensland when the student began expanding on work Professor Billingsley had done earlier in the UK. Professor Billingsley had designed robots called NEROs (Nuclear Electric Robots) that could climb vertical surfaces so they could access highly hostile and inaccessible environments in nuclear reactors. Robotoad was developed for potential application in the areas of security, cleaning, surveillance, and assessing and repairing inaccessible areas of construction and engineering.
University of Southern Queensland 1995-1999


Gift of the University of Southern Queensland, National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, 2008
14 March, 2008

Cite this Object

Robot, robotoad III 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 18 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Robot, robotoad III |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=18 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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