It's true that we've never met a robot that we didn't like (ok, those snakebots were a bit weird) -- while we're a sucker for nursebots and singerbots and bartenderbots, we're especially partial to those silicon-based lifeforms that can perform some tedious and important task that would be pretty tough for us humans to do ourselves. The latest one we've spotted that fits this bill is a bot created by researchers at the University of Washington, which can crawl along high-voltage power cables to inspect their integrity before they blow up and/or cause some sort of significant damage. The Robotic Cable Inspection System is able to detect problems with the infrastructure via its heat sensor, acoustic sensor and "water tree" detector that examines if water has gotten into the insulation. Earlier this week, the team completed the robot's first field test at the Lockheed Martin Michoud NASA Assembly Facility in New Orleans as a way to promote more safety bots in work environments. We just hope that if the little guy does find damage that it's got time to scamper away before being shorted out itself.
[Via Robot Gossip]