Nick Morozovsky

Meet the "SkySweeper."

Nick Morozovsky's above invention, the SkySweeper, has at least two brilliant benefits: The acrobatic robot can shimmy down cables and power lines, inspecting them for damage and beaming data back to utility workers, at considerably less cost than your average unmanned helicopter. And in the process, the colorful little guy promises to make the maddening state of power outages a bit more entertaining.

Morozovsky, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UC San Diego, has developed the robot with off-the-shelf electronics and 3D-printed parts, all of which could be scaled up for municipal use at something close to $1,000 a pop. That's significantly cheaper than the tools and robots utilities current use to inspect overhead infrastructure. The SkySweeper could also harvest energy from the power lines as it works, removing the need to pull the robot down and plug it in. Attach a little camera, and it could also monitor repair sites for workers on the ground.

The SkySweeper is currently competing in the Road to Maker Faire Challenge, with plans for a broader debut at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems later this fall in Japan. In the below video, Morozovsky demonstrates his creation, with its endearing "inchworm" charm:

Now picture what it would be like to stumble unexpectedly upon one of these things in your own neighborhood.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  4. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  5. Protestors hold a sign that reads "Respect Democracy Our Vote Matters"
    Equity

    The Conservative Backlash Against Progressive Ballot Measures

    In many states, ballot initiatives on expanding Medicaid, limiting gerrymandering, and raising the minimum wage swept to victory in November. Now lawmakers are doing their best to reverse them.