Revolutionary “Tumbler” robot by DSD introduced for comprehensive underground pipeline inspections

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Tumbler" spherical robot

8th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Drainage Services Department (DSD) has introduced a cutting-edge solution called the Tumbler Inspection Ball (TlB) Robot  to address the perilous nature of underground pipeline inspections.

With its innovative design resembling a “Tumbler” toy, this remarkable robot can withstand strong currents, remain upright, and capture stable images and footage of the pipeline interiors, eliminating the risk of capsizing.

The Tumbler robot is equipped with an integrated stabilising system and utilises AI applications to enhance video quality, effectively surmounting the limitations of enclosed spaces in underground pipelines and tunnels. Remarkably, the robot operates wirelessly and can drift with the flow of water, capturing crystal-clear 360-degree panoramic videos. This enables drainage service personnel to assess pipeline conditions with utmost clarity using computers, facilitating prompt maintenance arrangements. The groundbreaking invention was honoured with a gold award at the 2024 Geneva International Invention Exhibition.

The research centre responsible for designing the Tumbler robot explained that the spherical design and concentrated weight at a single point were specifically devised to overcome the challenges posed by sewer systems. Unlike conventional inspection devices, this innovative robot is immune to capsizing. Furthermore, the adoption of state-of-the-art chips ensures high-speed computation and enables comprehensive 360-degree filming and recording. Once relevant footage is obtained, the centre employs artificial intelligence to generate immersive 360-degree panoramic images, providing engineers with a convenient visual representation of the pipeline’s condition on their computers.