Scientists at the University of Leeds was developed and successfully tested a miniature robot named Joey. The novelty, created for the inspection of pipelines, is small enough to pass through pipes with a diameter of up to 7.5 centimeters. It moves completely independently, is robust and works very efficiently. Thanks to its autonomous working – unlike the inspection cameras used today – it does not depend on external control.
“Underground water and sewer networks are among the least friendly environments, not only for humans, but also for robots. This is already a big challenge” – he stated Developer Thanh Luan Nguyen. Add to that the fact that Joeys are tiny, so they have to operate with very simple motors, sensors and computers that take up little space and use little power. As a result, their operation is extremely energy-saving.
The new development moves on three-spoke legs manufactured with a 3D printer and can overcome small obstacles. The installed sensors measure the distance to walls, intersections and corners, while the navigation devices, microphone, camera and headlights help to record errors in the pipe network and store the images taken. The prototype cost just £300 to produce. This model is not yet waterproof, nor is it protected against turning upside down.
The development team demonstrated that the robot could find its way through an experimental pipe network, including a T-junction, left and right turns, an obstacle and straight sections, without instructions from a human operator. The machine could check a meter of pipe network in an average of 45 seconds. For professionals, sensors that enable navigation without turning on the camera or using high-powered computer vision are important. This saves energy and extends the robot’s range. When the battery is close to empty, the machine will return to the starting point to recharge the energy storage.
Source: SG.hu Hírmagazin by sg.hu.
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