Snake Robot Slithers Through Pipes, Laser-Welds From Within

Coming soon to your plumbing

What if it was possible to weld pipes from the inside? While not necessary for all welding, sometimes there are metal tubes that need repair, and no good way to get to them other than going inside. For tubes that are too small for humans, repairing them means extensive work getting to them from the outside. What if, instead, we could send robots down the tubes, and have them weld with laser?

This snake robot, made by OC Robotics in collaboration with TWI Ltd, was built to see whether such a machine could work. Plenty of snakebots already exist, doing everyything from rescue work to surgery to industrial machining, but tragically few of them use lasers. From OC Robotics:

Here it is using the laser:

Seems to be a success! Watch the LaserPipe snake robot in action below:
Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.