Inspecting wind turbines is not for the faint of heart. Some of the largest wind turbines possess rotating blades that are hundreds of feet in length suspended at dizzying heights, and getting up close to equipment is no easy task. Yet where humans dare not tread, machines have no fear. Wisconsin-based Helical Robotics just debuted its HR-MP20, a climbing robot that can wirelessly scale a wind turbine and climb out onto the blades. At only 42lbs, the robot can move at max speed of 232.5 feet per minute, all while being controlled by a human back on the ground.
Like an insect climbing up a flower stalk, the HR-MP20 can climb wind turbines with the help of five neodymium magnets. A mounted digital camera allows a technician to make inspections via a radio controller. The robot is also able to carry 20 pounds of sensors and other gear, moving at 43.6 feet a minute when weighted down. Standing at 23.9 inches by 25.5 inches, the HR-MP20 is powered by battery to allow for a greater range. The robot starts at $19,995, and cutting-edge alternative to using a telescope to spy damaged structures.