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The Crack - China’s plumbing robot saving lives

27 September 2016

In China’s central Hubei Province, routine drainpipe checks put workers’ lives at risk from toxic gas. But the introduction of a revolutionary new wireless robot is taking over the routine checks and saving lives in the process.

Standing just 20 centimetres tall and with six independent driving wheels, this tiny robot plumber penetrates pipes of all sizes, from 15cm to 200cm. Mounted with a 360 degree rotatable camera and variable focus lens, the robot can capture any leakage, blocks or damage in the pipes.

“With a click of the mouse, the robot can go forward and backward, make a turn or jump over an obstacle,” says Zheng Hongbiao, the robot’s developer and general manager of Wuhan Easy-Sight Technology.

“Unlike the previous generation of wired robots, this new product can be easily operated through software on your laptop,” he explains.

The robot can complete a thorough check of a one kilometre-long pipe line in just two hours, transmitting data and analysis back to the computer in real time. Front and rear view images on a computer screen displayed in real time mean the robot’s course can be navigated with ease.

“The resolution of the front-view images is nine times higher than that of the previous generation of wired plumbing robot.”

Covering much ground already, the robot has traced 70,000 metres in seven districts in Wuhan city, capital of central Hubei Province. It’s due to be used in numerous other Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Zhengzhou.


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