Snake Robots to the Rescue
This snake robot can swim, climb stairs, move through sand and grass and even maneuver through bushes.
Snake robots seem to be an emerging field in robotics, particularly autonomous ones. The military is developing snake robots to disable explosives, but a few researchers are developing snake robots for more peaceful purposes.
Natural disasters can be just as dangerous for the rescue workers as they are for the people caught in them. That's why researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad, India, are developing a snake robot that's designed to help rescue survivors stranded in the remnants of a natural disaster.
"If one improves the search process, then rescue will come even faster, and more lives will be saved," said one of the project's researchers, Sriranjan Rasakatla.
Rasakatla said the team's snake robot can swim, climb stairs, move through sand and grass and even maneuver through bushes. Some of the robots' movements have been specialized to deal with a particular set of conditions. For instance, if the environment is slippery, the robot can be equipped with greater traction than one that would be dispatched to a desert setting.
An external camera assesses the terrain and adjusts the snake's motion accordingly. For instance, if the ground is smooth, the snake will side wind. If the terrain is grassy, the snake will crawl.
Unlike some other autonomous robots, these snake robots can also be controlled with gestures via a data glove. Accelerometers in the glove capture hand and arm motion from the controller and a computer converts it into motion in the snake For example, raising an arm up can cause the snake to raise its hood up. Gestures such as lift and scoop translate into a similar movement in the snake.
What the robot do it's thing here.