- A corrosion-checking robot that can crawl across the bottoms of Swiss bridges is a result of scientists marrying two known technologies to make a major innovation.
- The robot, dubbed C2D2 for Climbing Corrosion Detection Device, can go where no man or woman has gone before— accessing parts of reinforced concrete spans and doing early detection of corrosion in a mountain-and-valley nation that has 3,500 major-road bridges and thousands more local ones.
- The robot had been developed by a student group for movie-making. Scientists had a process for detecting corrosion through microelectronic variations in bridge concrete, but it used a manual, wheeled device.
Early detection is desirable because it allows repairs to be scheduled when they are least expensive. For now, C2D2 is controlled by a human with a remote unit, with a camera inside a bright pink ball on the top— well, bottom, when it's working upside down— but new software from the researchers at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich plan to make it autonomous.