Robot Snakes In Pipes Matrix Sentinel-Style

Robot snakes squirming their way through the pipes - that's the vision of the Sintef Group, a Norwegian research firm.

They are working on a 1.5 meter prototype; made of aluminum, the snakelike robot will have about ten joints, each equipped with plastic wheels. Pipes with a diameter as small as twenty centimeters will be navigable by the robots.

"Combined with our algorithms, the robot will be able to navigate and move forward on its own," said Jens Thielemann, a project manager at Sintef, in a statement. "The robot knows when a left or right turn is approaching and also contains a built-in path description detailing what tasks it should carry out in different situations."

The intent is to have an inspection system that will be flexible enough to move through the pipes of large industrial installations.

Science fiction movie makers also have had visions of robots in the pipes. Consider the Sentinel robots in the Matrix movies.


(Duct-diving Sentinel robots from The Matrix)

Want more information about snakelike robots? Take a look at this Snake Robot Roundup. Via Scandinavian scientists designing robotic snakes.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/26/2008)

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