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Small robots enter a wall cavity, navigate cooperatively, plug leaks, create a vapor barrier, then spray insulation throughout the cavity.




Older wood frame structures often have wall cavities that leak air, and are not well insulated.   

The existing solution is to drill holes in the interior walls, and blow in foam insulation or urea.  But these neither creates a true vapor barrier, nor spreads foam uniformly, 

Insulating without a vapor barrier can cause wall rot, attracting borer insects.   Also a few areas that are left uninsulated in a wall can nullify much of the benefit of the insulating in the rest.

Suggested solution:

Deploy tube-pulling microbots into the wall cavity, through holes drilled in the inside wallboard..  The tubes' umbilical  "tails" supply power, vapor barrier fluid, and insulating spray foam, to the microbot "heads".  The microbots navigate to the peripheries of the wall cavity, where they (i) plug air leaks, then (ii) apply a vapor barrier. After the leak pluggin and vapor barrier pass testing e.g. with a blower door and a humid day, The microbots spray foam, first into the peripheries of the cavity, then they retreat, using their "tails",  back to the entry hole, still spraying foam outward, until the whole cavity is insulated.

Some microbots may be left embedded in the foam, to sense temperature and moisture levels.

To help microbots navigate the wall cavity, and avoid electrical boxes etc, keepouts and  other informationcan be provided by the operator, and/or by beacon devices suctioned to the living space or weather sides of the wall.

The microbots oncept can be adapted to other applications, such as pulling electric wires, or optical fibers.

Category of the action

Building efficiency, Social Action

What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

Where will these actions be taken?

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

Retrofit of existing building walls, which can be time-consuming and labor intensive.

Presently the retrofit is done using blow-in foam insulation, which installed without possibility of installing vapor barrier(s). Lack of vapor barriers can cause condensation to accumulate in the walls and insulation, leading to possible mold or rot damage to the wall.


This wall cavity technology could also be adapted further:

i) for pulling electric wires or comm cables or perhaps air ducts, through wall cavity spaces

ii) for creating Faraday cage or RF screening inside walls.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

Related proposals


E.g., foam spray example foam example  Wall-climbing microbots

Robots for wall construction, sensing especially of studs & nails:

Gecko foot research: