Demand on in-pipe robots, which can inspect or repair underground pipes, has been steadily arisen. In this study, we developed an inchworm-type in-pipe robot that can travel through pipes. Developed robot is composed of one wrist unit, two suspension units, one of which has a controller and a CCD camera. It travels through pipes by repeating inchworm-like movement. According to each phase of the gate cycle, the wrist unit repeats expansion and contraction while two suspension units installed two ends of the body hold one end side of the body against the wall. A new wrist mechanism has three prismatic joints circumferentially 120 dgree apart with two ball joints and one universal joint at the center of them respectively for rotation, which enables the robot to move and steer at the same time. A new leg mechanism has three legs circumfer entially 120 degree apart with pantograph mechanism for folding and stretching them, and it endows the robot with constant traction force by actively controlling the radius of legs via monitoring the load current of the motor. An operator can inter actively control the robot with help of the control panel on a host computer which shares information with the robot by serial communication. The operator can acquire useful data on the panel like internal pipe images from the wireless camera and the position of each link. The mobility of the robot was verified by experiments .
Most of the recently developed robots are human friendly robots which imitate an animal or human such as entertainment robot, biomimetic robot and humanoid robot. Interest in these robots is increased because the social trend is focused on health, welfare, and graying. By these social backgrounds, robots become more human friendly and suitable for home or personal environment. The more biomimetic robots resemble living creature, the more human feels familiarity. Human feels close friendship not only when feeding a pet, but also when watching a pet having the food. Most of entertainment robots and pet robots use internal-type batteries and have a self-recharging function. Entertainment robots and pet robots with internal-type batteries are not able to operate during charging the battery. So far there have been a few robots that do not depend on an internal battery. However, they need a bulky energy conversion unit and a slug or foods as an energy source, which is not suitable for home or personal application. In this paper, we introduce a new biomimetic entertainment robot with autonomous eating functionality, called EPRO-1(Eating Pet RObot version 1). The EPRO-1 is able to eat a food (a small battery), by itself and evacuate. We describe the design concept of the autonomous eating mechanism of the EPRO-1, characteristics of sub-parts of the manufactured mechanism and its control system.