Robots May Repair Pipes From Inside
Water pipe robots are under development to help cities maintain their aging water delivery infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 6 billion gallons of potable water are wasted every day in the US by old pipes.
(Pipe repair robot concept)
Maria Feng, civil & environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Irvine, is leading a UCI engineering research team to build a water pipe repair robot.
"Currently, construction crews must dig trenches to find damaged pipe segments, which is a passive and expensive way of fixing the water system," Feng said in a statement. "In cities, trenching can be impossible."
The repair robot could easily be inserted into water systems, travel along them until it finds a break or weak point, and then apply a patch made of tough reinforcement material along the inside of the pipe. Essentially, the robot would create a new fiber pipe inside the old damaged one.
Professor Feng is, of course, completely unaware that she is helping to create the remote ancestors of the Matrix Sentinel robots, that haunt the ductwork of the Matrix infrastructure, looking for Keanu Reeves.
(Duct-diving Sentinel robots from The Matrix)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/9/2010)
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