UCSD Engineers Use Tensegrity Principles to Build Duct-Cleaning Robot

Published by , October 26, 2015 11:10 am

(World Industrial Reporter) — Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have used the principles of tensegrity to build a novel, light, and flexible duct-exploring robot. Named DucTT, UCSD’s robot is built from rigid aluminum tubes and space-age cables that keep its structure together. Tensegrity is a structural design paradigm that combines components under pure tension and pure compression to make mass efficient, accurately controllable structures. DucTT moves in an inchworm-like fashion along the length of ducts or tubes in any orientation, and can accurately negotiate the intersection of two or more ducts in a controlled, deliberate fashion.

Duct cleaning robots are a crucial tool to ensuring air quality. The World Health Organization estimates that Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor air inherently has a higher concentration of pollutants than outdoor air, and 30 percent of U.S. buildings experience air quality problems. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air problems cost U.S. businesses $60 billion annually.

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