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Terrifying Robot Snake's Flying, Coiling Attack

Take a look at this clever coiling robotic snake from Carnegie Mellon University, and think of how strolls around the CMU campus (which I've done) are now somewhat more fraught with peril.


(Coiling robot snake from CMU video)

In case you're wondering how the CMU engineers started thinking about flying strangling snakes, take a look at this innocent nature video about real snakes.


(Real snake in a tree)

Just because biomimicry produces interesting results in robotics doesn't mean that we need to imitate everything that snakes and other animals do with our robots - does it?

SF writers love slithering, snakelike robots. Consider the recent robot snake spy from Greg Bear's 2009 novel Mariposa:

The coil on the table appeared to be a snake - tan and brown with black specks and a spade-shaped head. It did not look alive and it did not look dead. ...He reached down and partially uncoiled the snake, then squeezed its middle. A small hatch popped open, giving a glimpse of gleaming steel ribs and wires.

Readers may like these sfnal predecessors to this idea; the mining worm robot from Love Among the Robots (1946) by Emmett McDowell and the mechanical cobra from Lord of Light (1967) by Roger Zelazny.

From CMU Robotics Lab via IEEE Spectrum

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