The SkySweeper, constructed with 3D-printed parts, is able to inch along power lines to inspect them. Built by UC San Diego engineering grad student Nick Morozovsky, the SkySweeper can be built for far cheaper than other line inspection robots.
SkySweeper is V-shaped with a motor-driven “elbow” in the middle and its ends are equipped with clamps that open and close as necessary to move it down the line, inch by inch. Morozovsky is strengthening the clamps so they can release from the rope and swing down the line, one end to the other, thereby swinging past cable support points.
SkySweeper could be outfitted with induction coils that would harvest energy from the power line itself, making it possible for the robot to stay deployed for weeks or months at a time. It could also be equipped with a mounted camera, which would transmit images to an inspection crew.
SkySweeper is one of a bunch of projects featured in the Road to Maker Faire Challenge. Go cast your votes for your favorite projects, and be sure to visit again until the voting period ends on Tuesday, August 13th at 11:59pm PT.