Robotic Cable Inspection System

The Robotic Cable Inspection System is a very specialized robot designed by engineers at the University of Washington.


(Robotic Cable Inspection System)

A successful cable inspection robot must overcome many obstacles: very narrow or tight spaces, restrictions on size and weight, wireless operation and adverse environmental conditions. The Robotic Cable Inspection System includes failure tracking, collision avoidance, and path planning. The robot is able to carry out its specific tasks autonomously once the operator has given an overview of the job.

The UW cable inspection robot is intended to be used with underground power cable systems. However, space enthusiasts know about another cable that will need to be rigorously tested - the cable for the space elevator. (The space elevator is a visionary concept dating from the turn of the 19th century; an ultra-strong carbon nanotube ribbon would stretch from the Earth into space.) Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, writing in his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise provides a means for cable inspection - the "spider:"

The flimsy spider - a prototype test vehicle that looked like a motorized bo'sun's chair - had already made a dozen ascents to twenty kilometers, with twice the load it would be carrying now. There had been the usual teething problems, but nothing serious; the last five runs had been completely trouble-free.
(Read more about Clarke's space elevator spider)

Unfortunately for the protagonist of Clarke's novel, the "sensors" that examined the space elevator cable were provided by the person riding in it! Visual inspection is probably not enough for a real space elevator cable, and is certainly not enough for University of Washington engineers. The Robotic Cable Inspection System provides non-destructive measurement methods that are designed to determine the fault type, extent of fault, and aging status of the cable. The cable robot uses temperature, acoustic and electric field sensors in checking cables.


(Acoustic sensor)

As far as the space elevator is concerned, work has already begun on a cable-climbing robot. The Liftport group has been testing their space elevator robotic lifter in the lab and in real world tests using a balloon-borne cable; other groups have participated in the Space Elevator Games. Effective inspection of the carbon nanotube space elevator cable is essential; see Space Elevator Downer for details on just how perfect the cable would need to be.

Read more at the UW's Sensor, Energy and Automation Lab; via Robot Gossip.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/7/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.

Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.

Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.' - Harry Harrison, 1959.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.' - Michael Swanwick, 2002.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Extremophile Microbe Loves Space Rocks
'... designed for rooting in the metal make-up of the asteroids for vital elements.'

Magic Mushroom Nose Spray From Silo Wellness
'I don't need help... that's not my diagnosis!'

CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.'

Space Domes Over-rated? Science Fiction Authors Have Answers
'This was to be roofed over, sealed, and an atmosphere provided...'

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

Autonomous Wheelchairs Improve Airport Mobility
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.

Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...'

Viisights AI Hones Video Surveillance
'The math boys worked it out...'

Cybertruck The Solar-Powered Steel Tortoise
'It drew its power from... sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'

Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'

NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'

Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.