Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pipe-Crawling Robots Designed To Find Earthquake, Bomb Survivors

Date:
October 4, 1999
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
After an earthquake or bombing, rescuers who climb into the rubble of collapsed buildings searching for survivors may place their own lives at risk, as well as the lives of unseen survivors hidden deeper beneath the rubble. But a team of North Carolina State University engineers is building a robot to help solve this quandary.

After an earthquake or bombing, rescuers who climb into the rubble of collapsed buildings searching for survivors may place their own lives at risk, as well as the lives of unseen survivors hidden deeper beneath the rubble. But a team of North Carolina State University engineers is building a robot to help solve this quandary.

Dr. Eddie Grant, visiting professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Undergraduate Design Center at NC State, realized that if robots could get into the building, they would be able to find survivors without endangering the lives of rescuers. Because pipes are often left intact when buildings collapse, Grant conceived the idea of a pipe-crawling robot, and he challenged his senior design students in electrical and computer engineering to build a robot that could navigate pipes.

Under the direction of Grant and Dr. John Muth, visiting assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, the senior design students created Moccasin I and Moccasin II, robots that can crawl through six-inch piping, using off-the-shelf components.

"The idea for these robots came when I was in Virginia at a meeting," says Grant. "One of the men I was meeting with had been sent in to the Oklahoma City bombing with a marine special force. He told me that the rescuers would have given anything to have a robot that could go in and find the people.

"When I came back to NC State, I realized that this would make an excellent senior design project. And the students met the challenge very well."

The most recent design, Moccasin II, is able to navigate a complicated course of piping, complete with 90-degree turns and vertical climbs. The segmented robot has the look of a cyber-inchworm and uses pneumatics to force padded "feet" against the pipe walls as it extends and contracts its body along the pipe course.

"The use of pneumatics for movement is an important factor because sometimes there are explosive gases present in buildings that have collapsed," says Grant. "Electricity would have the potential for igniting these gases so we designed the robot to use compressed air instead. This gives it added portability, as well. The robot can run off air tanks when there is no electricity to run an air compressor, and it is designed so that it breaks down into components that can be carried easily in backpacks to remote disaster sites."

Moccasin II is outfitted with a tiny video camera and lights that feed video through a cable to a monitor so its location in the pipe can be seen. The robot can also carry sensors that could "hear" or sense vibrations from someone tapping on the pipes.

The on-board video and ability to carry sensors into the pipes makes Moccasin II a versatile robot that could be used not only for search and rescue, but also for repairs on piping in areas where humans would be in danger, such as in nuclear power plant pipes or in gas lines. With other modifications, it could be used to detect cracks in sewer or water lines.

"The robot is very versatile," says Grant. "We are currently working on modifying a different robot based on what we have learned from the Moccasin design. Using compressed air is the key to making a robot that is safer in areas where combustibles are present."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Pipe-Crawling Robots Designed To Find Earthquake, Bomb Survivors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004065839.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (1999, October 4). Pipe-Crawling Robots Designed To Find Earthquake, Bomb Survivors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004065839.htm
North Carolina State University. "Pipe-Crawling Robots Designed To Find Earthquake, Bomb Survivors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004065839.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins