Ball shaped robots to Inspect Nuclear Power Plants

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Robots are used to perform automated and repetitive work. It brings safety of workers and regulation and its profitable. They are used for the inspection and maintenance of critical and dangerous systems like Inspection of reactor vessel, Underwater inspection and Pipe inspection. Ball Shaped Robots are developed by Massachuttus Institute of Technology. They are designed to efficiently enter the underground pipes. It is about the size of an egg. Using there robots inspection is done without digging up the buried pipes. Signs of corrosion and leakage are detected. On board camera takes images along the pipe’s interior. They have Wireless underwater communications capability across distances of up to 100m.

Design and construction

Ball Shaped Robots Works on the principle of change in center of gravity. Energy source of these robots is NiCd battery. Same as hamster ball. They have moving eye ball mechanism. By controlling speed of drive, speed of robot is controlled. Mobility was provided by generating torque directly to the lever. The number of Revolutions are counted by an inductive sensor. Large instrument board carries an on board computer and interactivity tools. Pulse encoders are used for for motor rotation measurement. Sensors are used for temperature, pan, tilt and heading of inner mechanics. Local server transmits control using commands that are kinematics invariant. These robots has an automatic localization command. User interface contains virtual model for communication between remote user and a local system.

Main parts of the system - Sensors

  • Gyroscope: It will be used to calculate the angular velocity of the roll angle of the ball.

  • Accelerometer: It will be used to measure the motor acceleration

  • Encoder: Used to measure the  rotational speed of the motor.

Wireless camera node

Wireless camera node contains computer module, Wireless LAN adaptor, Wired LAN adaptor utilized for connecting image card, CMOS camera with fish eye lens and GPS locator.

System configuration of camera node

Processor and Software used in camera is Teensy++, based in Arduino Software. Electronics Board integrates H-Bridge. Teensy, sensors and motor will be connected in it. For power supply, Cells or batteries are used. For motor, DC Motor with nominal voltage between 12 V - 15 V is used. Mathematical Model used in camera was established by using No rolling slip constraints, Conservation of angular momentum and Algorithm motion planning. Spherical structure offer extra ordinary motion properties. For propulsion system, No external  propellers or rudders are used. Smarter propulsion method is adopted. A multi-axis thrust mechanism with a network of Y-shaped valves within the skin. Creating a jet stream that propels robot in opposite direction.

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