Video of the week: an inflatable 20 m long robotic arm

With a length of 20 m and a weight of 1.2 Kg, the robot arm of the Suzumori Endo of the Tokyo Technology Institute laboratory set a new record in this area. Particularity of this robot named “Arm of Giacometti” is composed entirely of segments inflated with helium and set in motion by synthetic muscles. Obviously, his movements are not accurate and its load capacity does not exceed that of a photo sensor, but may find a few applications in the inspection of large structures, including airliners.

The size of the robot Giacometti is unprecedented, but the idea is not to completely. The CEA had imagined such devices from 2008 and the french Warein, a specialist in technical textiles had unveiled the prototype of the BUBBLE (ULtra light arms) robot in 2014. Funded by the DGA, this inflatable robot was fully stowed in a backpack and could allow an operator to complete the inspection of a plane entirely autonomously, without the assistance of other equipment. Since Warein declined the concept with different materials.

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