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 ")

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.' - John W. Campbell

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!' - Michael Crichton, 1984.

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'- John Twelve Hawks, 2014.

 

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

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

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.