More Pole Climbing Bots, Haul Antennas and Bikes

Pole Climbing Robot

A few days ago we posted about a Pole Climbing Device. Since then we’ve gotten a few emails with tips about other pole climbers. We are going to talk about two of those here, they are completely different from each other and have completely different uses. Who knew there was such a variety of pole climber bots out there?

First up is this an antenna-wielding bot that climbs up poles in order to promote over the air communications. The system is called E-APS (Emergency Antenna Platform System) and is used by enthusiasts to turn any ol’ parking lot lamp post into an antenna tower. This particular machine has a large rectangular frame made from extruded aluminum. There are four wheels, two of which are driven by what appears to be a car power window motor. The weight of the antenna forces each set of two wheels to be pressed up against opposite sides of the pole, creating enough friction to not only support the unit but allow it to travel up and down the pole. There is not a lot of explanation about the build but there are a lot of detailed photos of the final product. We saw E-APS in action at MakerFaire New York 2013, and it was very impressive.

We’ve covered this next device before but it’s worth mentioning again. The project assumes that no bike lock is strong enough to deter the most persistent thief. Instead of locking your bike up and hoping for the best, this ‘theft preventer’ hikes your bike up out of the reach of would-be bike nabbers. So how do you get your bike down once it is up the pole? A remote control fob, of course.

There are 2 cool videos of these inventions after the break…..

 

Comments

  1. For ham radio operators participating in Field Day (as I believe the two guys in the video are doing), or generalized emergency operations, this E-APS thing is great. In urban areas, and even in some rural areas along highways, there are smooth poles everywhere that this thing can climb.

    Have the ‘bot haul up the center feed, and have two wires hanging off the balun (as these guys did), and you’ve got a nice inverted-V antenna for HF. It’s somewhat similar to a dipole. They also, I see, raised a VHF/UHF whip antenna, though its pattern is going to be disturbed by the proximity of the pole.

    Great work! Thanks for showing us this, Hackaday.

    • Simon says:

      Instead of disturbed you could say enhanced, as if you get the distances and other things right you can utilize the pole itself as a reflector and get a 1 or 2dB of gain into a direction you favour.

    • static says:

      Nope not field day, no one gave the ARRL section in the typical manner, nor gave what class of field day station they where operating. Looks to a couple of be couple of random young amateur radio operators making random contacts using novel hardware on a random day.

  2. ANC says:

    I like how both solutions solve the variable-diameter problem by just hanging the load off one side. No springs necessary.

  3. bhughes says:

    First Robotics Competition used pole climbing robots in 2011. They weren’t built for lifting things but they were fast. Couldnt find a video from my team but here is a video from team 2826. By the end of the competition teams were climbing the pole in the video in less than one second.

  4. Scuffles says:

    Sure, it’s all fun and games until one of your components gives out and drops a bike on someones head :P

    Cool project tho :D

  5. omegatotal says:

    I like the quick setup and tear down ability of the antenna rig for sure, and it looks like it could work with many different sized poles. I would love to see one of these with an amp on the rig(to allow for small/light weight cable to the rig), run up a large interstate light pole 100ft in the air and adapted to allow to rotate around the pole.

  6. Whatnot says:

    We need a pole climber that can get pass the protection they put on CCTV poles. The downwards protruding spikes kind is the one I see most.
    Why? Well – use your imagination.
    It’s more of a challenge though, climbing a smooth pole is easy.

  7. bro says:

    Hehe – if the construction would be strong enough these robots would also be nice for geocachers ;)

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