Sprint-Bot: Return of the Sprint!

Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Preparation for Testing at ICAIR

The robotics experts over at Theme 3 have been busy this month working on a number of upgrades to sprint-bot; Pipebots first sewage inspection platform.  Sprint-bot was initially the development of a 3-week long hardware sprint, but the sprints conclusion was cut short due to COVID-19.  Now there is hope on the horizon for testing to continue as the ICAIR facility finally starts to re-open.

The first major upgrade has been a redesign of the wheels, one of the problems faced in previous versions was that the chassis size was increased during the sprint to accommodate potentially large electronics assembly’s (the size of these was unknown at the time), the computers form the mind of the Sprint-bot and hence took precedent.  The size of the larger Chassis and the original size wheels caused in-pipe turning issues that needed to be corrected.  Hence a major upgrade can be seen in the bright green rendered tires which have increased in diameter from 170mm to 200mm. These tires have been custom built at the University of Leeds Real Robotics Lab and are now on the robot ready for testing next month.

In addition to the tires Theme 3 have been fitting components specified by the other themes to the robot chassis.  These were due to be fitted and assembled on the final day; a meeting of all themes working on the sprint.  This was unfortunately cancelled due to lockdown, however, the team has now collected and assembled all themes components through the power of postage!

In preparation for next month’s testing, Theme 3 will be developing a new tail for sprint-bot. Sprint-bot is designed like a ball so it requires a tail to stop itself from rolling over, the current tail is too rigid to allow turning in tight spaces. The new proposed tail will be deformable, allowing it to conform to the pipe walls during robot rotation.

We are looking forward to doing some real world testing next month and will be excited to share some results from the hard work that’s been put into Sprint-bot’s development!