Snake Robot Roundup: Part Two

(Continued from Snake Robot Roundup)

Polybot-Based Snakebot Locomotion Study

These snake robots were made to study different forms of serpentine locomotion. The intent of the study was to try to enable snake robots to manuever through 3D terrains by adapting the natural gaits of snakes.

(From Modular Serpentine Robot Locomotion)

Take a look at some of the interesting videos at Modular Serpentine Robot Locomotion site.

OmniTread: snakebot with treads

The OmniTread snakebot is currently under development at the University of Michgan; this segmented 26-pound robot uses tank-like treads that cover about 80 percent of its body.

(From OmniTread Snake Robot)

This robot is controlled directly with a joystick control attached to an umbilical cord (which also provides electrical power). An autonomous version is now under development.

The robot turns using bellows in the joints that connect the segments. Inflating or deflating the bellows joints provides enough torque to lift the front two segments to climb objects up to 18 inches in height.

Read more about it at OmniTread Snake Robot.

Finally, science fiction fans may recall the digger worm from the Berserker's Base stories created for Fred Saberhagen's Beserker world novels. Snake-like mining robots are used to dig through the soft coal deposits of an alien world, looking for rare diamonds:

"I think this is the worm." He knelt down and began clearing the chunks of yellow coal away. Under it was the smooth gray of the worm's grinding head...

"Where are the exploders?" she said.

"Inside the mouth. We won't be able to get at them, but the controls should be right here, at the back of its head." He swept away more rubble to reveal a beveled rectangle and flipped up the control plate. "When a worm's digging a new trail, it spits out an exploder, backs up to a safe distance, and detonates it..."

The worm gave a low growl and shudder and reared its gray metal head clear of the coal rubble...

(Thanks to Tim Morrison for suggesting the digger worms - I knew there had to be a snakebot somewhere in sf!)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/22/2005)

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