It’s a puzzle that has had Egyptologists scratching their heads for decades. What look like air shafts in the Great Pyramid of Giza are blocked from the outside and no definite explanation has been found so far as to their meaning or where they lead to.
But a team at Leeds University is hoping to uncover one of the world’s oldest secrets with its so-called Djedi robot.
It’s not the first time a robot has explored the inside of the tiny shafts within the great pyramid of Giza. But so far, none have been small or nimble enough to reach the end of the shafts. Djedi’s creators hope this one will succeed and help uncover some of the secrets of the pyramids.
“What our robot here does is, using these four soft pads that brace against the shaft walls, once it moves these never move and braze away. So it’s a very low impact method of travelling inside the air shafts,” explains research student Jason Liu.
Djedi was built using a 3D printer, which allowed the team to print parts of the robot that are both complex and resistant. It is also equipped with cameras and a miniature ultrasonic device that can tap on walls and get a response to help determine the thickness and condition of the stone.
“Using robots is a way of testing what’s going on in those shafts, even though I sincerely doubt a chamber full of hidden treasures is going to show up. That’s the world of fantasy,” says Campbell Price, curator or Egyptology at Manchester Museum.
Much hope is being placed on the shoulders of this small device to uncover some of the pharaohs’ secrets about Egypt’s Giza pyramid, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World and the only one to remain largely intact.