A robotic snake could entirely alter the way people are searched for in disaster areas. It could also completely alter the way typical search and rescue is executed. Researchers have put together a robotic snake that travels like a sidewinder in hopes of creating a truly all-terrain robot.
The robotic snake will also go a long way to answering difficult questions about snakes, and why they interact with the environment the way they do. It will give scientists insight to how they negotiate landscape, different materials, terrain, and much more.
The team of physicists who are responsible for creating the design alongside engineers, say that while snakes as a whole are incredibly mobile creatures – sidewinders are by far the most impressive creatures. “The desert sidewinder is really extraordinary,” and has “the fastest and most efficient natural motion we’ve ever observed.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that a snake is the vehicle of the future, but it does suggest that there is a lot of information to be gained from a snake and how they interact with their surroundings, and how that correlates to our motion.
Science has long been stalled on issues like movement in very confined places, and finally, this offers an opportunity to scale greater landscapes. The secret behind the snakes is in their wave motion throughout a given landscape or surface. They move horizontally and vertically and ultimately create a wave motion that is primed for quick, and efficient movement.
It handles up-slopes as well that were previously difficult to negotiate. Previous models of this design had a difficult time managing those slopes, but now, the robot being dubbed “Elizabeth” the robosnake handles all terrains very, very well.
While this is just an early model of something that clearly needs a lot of development still before it can be put into practice, the modern day, and real world applications that an invention like this could serve are literally endless. Whether you’re talking about human extraction or simply getting human reach into places that previously aren’t able to achieve it thanks to limits in the world of size and obviously feasibility.
The next move will be expanding what the research has succeeded in. That means larger models, more functionality, better speed and precision, and more.