August 6, 2013
Inspecting Power Lines Made Simpler And Less Expensive With SkySweeper Robot
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
[ Watch The Video - Researchers Develop Robot For Safer Power Line Maintenance ]
"Current line inspection robots are large, complex, and expensive. Utility companies may also use manned or unmanned helicopters equipped with infrared imaging to inspect lines," said Nick Morozovsky, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UC San Diego, who designed the robot. "This is much simpler."
Morozovsky, who works in the lab of Professor Thomas Bewley at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, will introduce the robot at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, also known as IROS 2013, from Nov. 3 to 8 in Tokyo. He will also present a paper, titled "A Low Degrees of Freedom, Dynamic High Wire Robot," at the conference.
SkySweeper is V-shaped with a motor-driven "elbow" in the middle and its ends are equipped with clamps that open and close as necessary to move it down the line, inch by inch. Morozovsky is strengthening the clamps so they can release from the rope and swing down the line, one end to the other, thereby swinging past cable support points.
SkySweeper could be outfitted with induction coils that would harvest energy from the power line itself, making it possible for the robot to stay deployed for weeks or months at a time. It could also be equipped with a mounted camera, which would transmit images to an inspection crew.
Before it heads out to Japan, SkySweeper is competing in the Road to Maker Faire Challenge, a contest where winners can bring home $2,500 to take their project to the World Maker Faire Sept. 21 and 22 in New York. You can vote for Skysweeper from Aug. 6 to 13, 2013 here.
Learn more about the contest here.
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