Super Simple 3-D-Printed Robot Can Inspect Power Lines For Cheap

If nothing else, humans have proved amazingly thorough builders of cables. Utility lines are everywhere, but they need to be inspected, and the equipment to do that is expensive and cumbersome. Not so with this creation!

Engineers from the University of California, San Diego have created this largely 3-D-printed V-shaped robot that, when scaled, could cost less than $1,000 each. It’s called the SkySweeper, and it inches its way along a cable sort of like a caterpillar, one arm pulling and then locking, followed by the next arm moving forward and then locking. You can see it more clearly in the video above.

Thanks to its inexpensive materials and manufacturing costs, it could be a lot more appealing than previous robots, like the Expliner from HiBot. The Expliner can inspect four cables at once, so it’s good for major cities and other high-capacity jobs, but it’s a bit of an overkill for smaller jobs. The SkySweeper seems like a great option for those.

[via UCSD]