An In-Pipe Mobile Robot for Use as an Industrial Endoscope Based on an Earthworm’s Peristaltic Crawling
Shota Horii and Taro Nakamura
Chuo University, 1-13-27 Kasuga, Bunkyou-ku, Tokyo 112-8551, Japan
Many pipe accidents caused by corrosion or deterioration have been reported recently; hence, in-pipe inspection is needed to prevent such problems. Fiberscopes are currently used as industrial endoscopes to inspect defects in pipes. Because of friction, however, they cannot be inserted into pipes that are more than 15 m long or into complex pipes such as elbows. Therefore in-pipe inspection robots need to be selfpropelled in order to be inserted into these environments. We are developing a robot capable of propelling itself through various pipes, such as long pipes and elbow pipes, specifically, a peristaltic crawling robot using DC brushless motors for in-pipe inspection. In this study, the robot we developed was used in straight and elbow pipes with an inner diameter of 27 mm. In this paper, we derive theoretical formulas for robot locomotion speed and propulsion force and propose a special motion pattern, known as the middle motion pattern, for the robot’s peristaltic crawling pattern. We performed several experiments in a 27-mm-diameter acrylic pipe to examine the locomotion speed and propulsion force. We also developed a robot that can pass through an elbow and conducted several experiments to confirm this.
-  A. Kuwada, K. Tsujino, K. Suzumori, and T. Kanda, “Intelligent Actuators Realizing Snake -like Robot for Pipe Inspection,&rdquo Proc. IEEE Int. Symposium on Micro-nano Mechatronics and Human Science, pp. 1-6, 2006.
-  M. Konyo, K. Hatazaki, K. Isaki, and S. Tadokoro, “Development of an Active Scopecamera Driven by Ciliary Vibration Mechanism,&rdquo Proc. of the 12th Robotics-symposia, pp. 460-465, 2007.
-  P. Li, S. Ma, B. Li, and Y. Wang, “Development of an Adaptive Mobile Robot for In-pipe Inspection Task,&rdquo Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Mechatronics and Automation, pp. 3622-3627, 2007.
-  T. Okada and T. Sanemori, “MOGER: A Vehicle Study and Realization for In-pipe Inspection Tasks,&rdquo IEEE J. of Robotics and Automation, Vol.RA-3, No.6, December 1987.
-  A. H. Heidari, M.Mehrandezh, R. Paranjape, and H. Najjaran, “Dynamic Analysis and Human Analogous Control of a Pipe Crawling Robot,&rdquo Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 733-740, 2009.
-  T. Nakamura, T. Kato, T. Iwanaga, and Y. Muranaka, “Development of a Peristaltic Crawling Robot Using Servo Motors Based on the Locomotion Mechanism of Earthworms,&rdquo Proc. of IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2006), pp. 4342-4344, 2006.
-  T. Nakamura and T. Iwanaga, “Locomotion Strategy for a Peristaltic Crawling Robot in a 2-Dimensional Space,&rdquo Proc. IEEE In. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, pp. 238-243, 2008.
-  N. Saga and T. Nakamura, “Development of peristaltic crawling robot using magnetic fluid on the basis of locomotion mechanism of earthworm,&rdquo Proc. of SPIE, Smart structures, Devices, and Systems, SPIE, pp. 369-377, 2002.
-  H. Omori, T. Hayakawa, and T. Nakamura, “Locomotion and Turning Patterns of a Peristaltic crawling Earthworm Robot Composed of Flexible Units,&rdquo Proc. of IEEE/RSJ 2008 Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 1630-1635, 2008.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright© 2012 by Fuji Technology Press Ltd. and Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. All right reserved.