Water pipe robot utilizing soft inflatable actuators

Wade Adams, Saivimal Sridar, Carly M. Thalman, Bryce Copenhaver, Hassan Elsaad, Panagiotis Polygerinos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

24 Scopus citations


This paper presents the design and testing of a soft robot for water utility pipeline inspection. The preliminary findings of this new approach to conventional methods of pipe inspection demonstrate that a soft inflatable robot can successfully traverse the interior space of a range of diameter pipes without the need of adjusting mechanical components. The robot utilizes inflatable soft actuators with adjustable radius which, when pressurized, can mobilize the robot inside the pipe, or anchor it in place. Utilizing a control algorithm for locomotion allows the robot to maneuver through a pipe mimicking the motion of an inchworm. This paper offers an evaluation of the structure and behavior of the inflatable actuators through computational modeling of the material and design, as well as the experimental data of the forces and displacements generated by the actuators. The theoretical results are contrasted to experimental data utilizing a physical prototype of the soft robot. The unique design is anticipated to enable compliant robots to conform to the space offered to them and overcome any occlusions from accumulated solids found in pipes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538645161
StatePublished - Jul 5 2018
Event1st IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018 - Livorno, Italy
Duration: Apr 24 2018Apr 28 2018

Publication series

Name2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018


Other1st IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Optimization
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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