When my brother's sewer pipe blocked up last year, he called out the helpful chaps from Dyno-Rod. But when it became clear that the cause of the blockage wasn't immediately obvious, they took a closer look with their CCTV equipment.
Now, usually blocked drains can be caused by a number of factors, but most of the time it is simply a buildup of whatever's gone into the drain.
But this time around, it wasn't. No, the CCTV footage showed quite clearly that the cause of the problem was roots that had grown into the pipework from a tree that had been planted close to the house.
Having determined the cause of the problem, it was simply a case of hauling the tree out of the backyard, getting the roots out of the pipe and relining it.
More recently, my brother's been in contact with me again. This time around, he is concerned that the gutters around the top of the house have been blocked with leaves and debris, causing water to overflow into the yard rather than drain away through the downpipes on the side of the house.
Fortunately, after a quick look on the web, I discovered yet another system -- and one that also partially makes use of vision -- that might be able to help him here too.
The new system, called the VertaLok Rotary Gutter Cleaning System, provides an effective solution to my brother's problem -- all without him having to put a foot on a ladder.
The product itself consists of a number of extendable pole sections with an internal rotary drive that can be connected to a cordless drill, and a water channel that can be hooked up to a garden hose.
On the end of the pole section -- the end that is destined for the gutter -- a user can attach a number of tools. These include a rotary paddle brush that works with the cordless drill for removal of leaves and loose debris, a gutter scoop with water jet nozzle for wet compost and tough debris, and a gutter brush with water jet nozzle for cleaning and rinsing.
Bu the best bit of the whole system must surely be the mounting bracket that will allow my brother to attach a digital camera to the system, enabling him to perform a video inspection from ground level before or after he has finished cleaning his gutters.
Now this development might not sound like the most novel use of a vision system that we have ever covered here on the Vision Systems Design web site. And indeed, if you think so, then I'd be tempted to agree with you.
But it does go to show just how pervasive image capture and analysis is becoming in all our daily lives.