Rolls Royce 'Cockroach-Sized' Repair Robots To Crawl Inside Engines
Rolls-Royce is working with robotics experts at Harvard and the University of Nottingham to develop tiny robots that can actually crawl inside aircraft engines to spot and fix problems.
(Rolls Royce tiny repair robots)
Sebastian de Rivaz, a research fellow at Harvard Institute, said the inspiration for their design came from the cockroach and that the robotic bugs had been in development for eight years. He added that the next step was to mount cameras on the robots and scale them down to a 15-milimeter size. De Rivaz said that once the robots had performed their duty they could be programed to leave the engine or could simply be "flushed out" by the engine itself.
Science fiction fans have been waiting patiently for this idea to reach reality. Consider the repair robots from Stanislaw Lem's 1954 novel The Invincible:
Faint rattling noises came from inside the hull as if swarms of tiny animals were busily scurrying about scratching the metal walls with their sharp little claws. This was the sign that the repair robots had started out on their rounds...