Snakes on a plane!
October 1, 2012
Engineers at firms like Rolls-Royce and GE are developing “snake robots” with intelligent algorithms to find and repair problems in plane engines, New Scientist reports.
The slithering simulants would be about 12.5 millimeters (1/2 inch) in diameter, controlled by a technician as they are guided through the engine’s insides, beaming back images — a bit like telesurgery, a Rolls-Royce executive said.
Finding and fixing defects in planes is currently a complex. time-consuming, and very expensive process.
The wriggling robots would use UV lasers (to make the edges of blade fractures fluoresce) and a grinding tool to sand down things like damaged compressor blades, would be able to survive within the 2000 °C temperatures at running engines’ core. A prototype is scheduled for 2014.