An army of sinister-looking spider robots equipped with state of the art cameras may soon be crawling through people’s pipes.
Known as SPD1, the futuristic tiny workers have been designed to carry out routine maintenance surveys and look for leaks.
But in the wrong hands they could be used to sneak into homes to spy on unaware residents.
Japanese robotics firm TMSUK say they created the bots in response to failing sewer infrastructure and a lack of people willing to do the smelly work.
The company said of the creation: “The total length of sewer pipes in Japan is about 490,000 km, of which about 25,000 km (5% of the total length) have passed the standard service life of 50 years, and will be expected to reach the end of the next 10 years.
“In addition, there is a chronic shortage of workers in the construction industry, especially at sewerage construction sites, and it is currently difficult to expect inspections and repairs to be completed.
“Therefore, as a new attempt to meet the diverse needs that are expected to continue to increase in the future, we have developed a highly versatile multi-legged walking pipe survey robot.”
SPD1 have flexible legs designed to conform to different inner diameters of the pipes.
The robots can investigate and work individually or in groups with the first robot leading the way, followed by a second recording the surveyed location, and the third robot doing “works” on the required location.
TMSUK says: “We are planning to announce the product model of SPD1 after conducting a demonstration experiment at the site of a sewage pipe survey.
“In addition, since it is based on general-purpose robot technology, by changing functions such as adding a workable arm, it can be applied to survey and work in narrow places where people cannot enter, other than sewage work.”
Operators above ground are able to control them with a gaming pad.
Last month China showed off a robot dog equipped with a machine gun which can be deployed into battle by drone.
Military contractors shared the video on the Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing page on Weibo, showing a drone hovering over buildings before dropping the killer bot on a roof.
The Weibo post describing the weapon’s capabilities reads: “War dogs descending from the sky, air assault, Red Wing Forward heavy-duty drones deliver combat robot dogs, which can be directly inserted into the weak link behind the enemy to launch a surprise attack or can be placed on the roof of the enemy to occupy the commanding heights to suppress firepower.”