If you want to inspect tight spaces, like a storm drain or crawl space, a robot can be very useful. Sure, wired inspection scopes exist, but you can only move them so far and navigating in cramped areas can be very difficult. A robot dramatically extends that range and allows you to move around unhindered. The tricky part, of course, is building a robot small enough to actually fit into those small areas. That’s what IOXIDE has done with their Nano FPV Tank Inspection Bot, and the results are impressive.
The finished robot measures a mere 65x40x30mm, which makes it one of the smallest FPV (First-Person View) robots we’ve ever seen. It started its life as an inexpensive Happy Cow 777–215 RC Tank. Mechanically, that RC tank had pretty decent parts right off the shelf. But the control electronics were woefully inadequate for any kind of real work. So, IOXIDE kept the chassis, motors, and tracks, but tossed out everything else.
They then put in an much nicer RC receiver and electronic speed controllers (ESCs) for the motors. While they were at it, they also added a tiny camera FPV system to transmit a video signal back to the pilot. Finally, a new shell was 3D-printed to protect the robot tank. As IOXIDE shows, the robot is remarkably nimble. The video quality is also surprisingly good considering how small the camera is. With some LED headlights, it’s able to easily navigate through dark, cramped spaces for inspections.