Biorobotics Snake Bot
Snake bot performs cover surveillance…
Animal-inspired robots are popping up from research labs all over the world. From lizards and birds, to bugs, scientists are drawing many new designs directly from nature, and with much success.
A team from the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology is one of those aiming to push the envelope, and has recently unveiled prototype of its surveillance snake robot.
Biorbotics Snake Bot
The snake bot can wriggle, roll, corkscrew and side-wind for movement, choosing the best motion depending on the terrain. Highly versatile and can navigate up stairs and vertical obstacles, through sewage pipes and under floorboards, it can also curl up, or stand up right to gain a better view.
Measuring 6ft, the snake bot consists of a series of polymer segments connected by flexible joints, as well as an electric motor for power. These segments could in theory house small cameras or explosive and could be shed at specified locations.
The snake bot features laser cameras that scan the environment detecting every reflective surface in 360 degrees. It then joins all the points of the surfaces to create a 3D model, which is uses to find the quickest or most covert routes, hiding spots, or surveillance vantage points.
Four microphones provide omni-directional detection of approaching threats. Smart software compares the time it takes for the sounds to reach the mics, then it calculate the threats location, bearing and speed, and uses this data to determine whether it should hide.
Biorobotics snake bot is not the first we’ve seen. A team from Virginia Tech developed a pole climbing snake bot, and the U.S. Army Research Lab took the technology even further by developing a multiple tentacle snake bot, known as the Robotic Tentacle Manipulator. This modular system can be used a single ‘snakes’ but also works in groups. Such a bot could be used to carefully examine cars and other containers for bombs in a similar way to how octopuses feel their prey and surroundings.
- David Hambling: Next-Generation Surveillance Robots Can Analyze Their Environment. Popular Science, 01/13/2011.