Sinks are a part of everyday life for most, but in some situations – and for those with certain disabilities – a sink nozzle with the ability to aim itself, and activate water flow on and off could be very helpful. To accomplish this task, Clemson University PhD student Jake Ammons created a robotic sink that moves as a continuum manipulator, or snake robot.
According to Ammon's project write-up, “Motors at the base of the faucet adjust the lengths of three tendons that pass through the pipe to the end of the hose.” As these tendons – which pass through collars arranged along the length of the garden hose used for this prototype – are pulled in and let out, the nozzle moves in kind. Water is started and stopped with a solenoid valve.
An Arduino Mega and motor drivers handle the motion, and user interface is via a joystick, with a button to operate the water flow. While directly controlled in the video below, Ammons notes that, “Future research may include adding computer vision, flow measurement, and interoperability with other assistive robots.” Part of the purpose of this project was to explore moving fluids through a continuum manipulator, which could be useful for his upcoming research involving concrete and a much larger hose assembly!