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Micro inspection robot for 1-in pipes

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4 Author(s)
Suzumori, K. ; Lab. of Mech. Syst., Toshiba Corp., Kawasaki, Japan ; Miyagawa, T. ; Kimura, M. ; Hasegawa, Y.

A micro inspection robot for 1-in pipes has been developed. The robot is 23 mm in diameter and 110 mm in length and is equipped with a high-quality micro charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and a dual hand for manipulating small objects in pipes. It can travel through both vertical pipes and curved sections, making possible inspections that would be difficult with conventional endoscopes. Its rate of travel is 6 mm/s and it has a load-pulling power of 1 N. To realize this microrobot, the authors have specially designed and developed several micro devices and micromechanisms: a novel micromechanism called a planetary wheel mechanism for robot drive; a micro electromagnetic motor with a micro planetary reduction gear to drive the planetary wheel mechanism; a micro pneumatic rubber actuator that acts as a hand; a micro CCD camera with high resolution; and a pneumatic wobble motor for rotating the camera and hands. In the paper, the design and performance of these micro devices are reported, the performance of the robot as a whole is described, and an application example is given

Published in:

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )