Water Pipe Inspector

Robots that inspect the insides of water pipes usually use rubber wheels and treads to grip the pipe, which ends up dislodging rust particles that end up in peoples’ taps.

To combat this problem, the European Union TRACT project is developing a propeller-driven robot that keeps the pipe-touching to a minimum. Developed by Norway’s SINTEF research group, the current 3D-printed prototype has a segmented body, with propellers at each end and spring-loaded fins to lightly brush against the pipe. It also uses ultrasound transducers the pick up on how much of the pipe has been eroded.

The robot can get through pipes as small as 10cm (3.9 inches) and can make 90 degree turns, and can travel up to 150 meters.

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