An autonomous robot could soon save businesses millions of dollars in the inspection of pipelines. Houston-based itRobotics is developing a robot that can travel tether-free, without operator intervention, for kilometers inside tubing and small-diameter pipes, making inspections cheaper and easier and detecting some flaws that aren’t detectable from the outside. The trainlike prototype, designed for pipes five to six centimeters across, pulls one or more carts loaded with sensors that detect changes in, for example, magnetic flux, which can indicate wall thinning or cracks. The robot’s proprietary locomotion system and onboard computer allow it to decide whether to proceed, slow down, stop, or even reverse. The company plans to introduce its first inspection robot, for the oil and gas industry, this fall. Future versions could inspect plant equipment such as the boilers and heat exchangers found in refineries, chemical plants, and desalinization plants.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything
Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.