You only need to experience another blackout for a reminder of the importance of power grid maintenance. Robots that crawl along and inspect power lines could save utilities a bundle in preventive checks.
We've seen a few designs for machines that can take on this dangerous and tricky job, such as Hydro-Quebec's LineScout, but they can still cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Engineers at the University of California at San Diego have developed a cheap and fast wire-crawling inspection robot called the SkySweeper. Made of off-the-shelf electronics and 3D-printed parts , the basic bot can be produced for less than $1,000. … Read more