Meet A Terrifying Robot Dog That Can Walk Up Walls Spider-Man Style

A new mechanical dog developed in Korea can walk up walls.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

robot dog

Need a picture straightened, a light bulb changed, or a sun roof installed? Well, we don’t know if the robot dog MARVEL can do any of those things, but it can walk up walls and across the ceiling just like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. You can see a video of the technological Toto below and gasp in shock and/or fear at what this new creation can do.

As you can see in the recording, while it’s referred to as a robot dog, MARVEL seems like more a spider than pooch. Early in the video you can watch the mechanical mutt scale walls and ceilings, but keep watching and things get more impressive. Toward the end of the clip, MARVEL is shown climbing the surface of an outside storage tank while avoiding obstacles protruding out of the tank’s structure.

The robot dog was developed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, according to Popular Science. MARVEL’s creators gave it the name as an acronym for “Magnetically Adhesive Robot for Versatile and Expeditious Locomotion.” And we have to imagine that the opportunity to name it after the company responsible for Spider-Man, Iron Man, and other popular superheroes was too tempting to pass up.

MARVEL is able to climb walls and ceilings because of the magnetorheological elastomers, or MREs, at the end of its four legs. The MREs can conduct electromagnetic force, allowing the robot dog to go up walls and across ceilings like a creepy horror movie monster. So far, none of the sources we’ve been able to find have confirmed whether or not the researchers in Korea used MARVEL to play scary pranks on one another, but if they didn’t then it’s a real lost opportunity.

Speaking of scaring your co-workers, you may be asking yourself exactly what the practical applications are for a gravity-defying robot dog beyond terrifying friends and loved ones. Well, according to Popular Science, there are actually quite a few uses we could get out of such devices. In particular, the publication calls MARVEL a perfect tool for “inspection scenarios within industrial environments” that could otherwise put humans at serious risk.

For example, MARVEL or robot dogs like it could get at difficult-to-reach areas on bridges, ships, and tall buildings. It could also, we feel the need to reiterate, really scare the hell out of a roommate, as long as you get it in position before they’re in the room.

robot dog
Ensign D’Vana Tendi (voiced by Noël Wells) and her robot dog – named simply The Dog – in Star Trek: Lower Decks

Popular Science mentions that this is just one example of robot researchers taking inspiration from nature, which threatens to bring real science that much closer to science fiction. Robot dogs have been a staple of the genre, with examples including K-9 of Doctor Who and Muffit of the original Battlestar Galactica. Even Star Trek: Lower Decks in its first season introduced The Dog, a pooch who looked normal at first, but soon revealed a number of ridiculous abilities like spitting lightning bolts, growing wings, and yes — climbing walls.