Snake-Arm Robot In A Plane

Snake-arm robots are going places they had never been before, thanks to OCRobotics and KUKA Roboter. The OCRobotics snake-arm robot has just reached the first major milestone for assembly and inspection tasks within aircraft wings.


(Snake-arm robot with KUKA industrial robot)

OCRobotics has completed build and initial testing of a demonstration snake-arm robot capable of sealing, swaging and inspection inside a mock-up of a rib bay. The aerospace industry has been slow to use robotics on assembly lines; tasks within rib bays and other confined spaces inside aircraft structures have remained practically impossible, until now. Snake-arm robots do not have prominent ‘elbows’. They have a continuous curving shape – like a snake. This means that they are ideal for applications in confined spaces and can reach lots of awkward places. (See Snake-Arm Robots From OCRobotics Reach Out for more details.)

In a new configuration, the OCRobotics snake-arm robot is attached to the KUKA industrial robot, which uses the snake-arm robot as a tool. It is a flexible extension to the industrial robot. Initial tests show the arm is flexible enough to deliver the required tools to areas of the wing box that were previously inaccessible to automation.


(OCRobotics Snake-arm robot reaches inside)

This extraordinary ability to reach into tight spaces and seek out and manipulate objects reminded me immediately of the steel tentacles imagined by H.G. Wells in his classic 1898 novel The War of the Worlds. We all remember the scene in which the novel's narrator is trapped in a small house:

I looked up and saw the lower surface of a handling-machine coming slowly across the hole. One of its gripping limbs curled amid the debris; another limb appeared, feeling its way over the fallen beams. I stood petrified, staring. Then I saw through a sort of glass plate near the edge of the body the face, as we may call it, and the large dark eyes of a Martian, peering, and then a long metallic snake of tentacle came feeling slowly through the hole.

I turned by an effort, stumbled over the curate, and stopped at the scullery door. The tentacle was now some way, two yards or more, in the room, and twisting and turning, with queer sudden movements, this way and that. For a while I stood fascinated by that slow, fitful advance.
(Read more about H.G. Wells' steel tentacles)

Fortunately, OCRobotics has found a much more practical task for "steel tentacles" to perform. They have created a real-life robot with dexterity better than anything H.G. Wells' could have imagined.

Update 07-Nov-2006: Here are some extra pictures of the snake-arm robot 'tentacle tip', supplied by OCRobotics.

If you're interested, take a look at how KUKA has fun; learn about their Juke Bot Robot and the RoboCoaster G2 - Extreme Robot Roller Coaster.

If you are interested in snake-like robots, be sure to check out the Snakebot Roundup!, which features six different robots, and the Anna Konda Robotic Fire Hose. Learn more about the snake-arm robot. Find out more about the OCRobotics snake-arm robot at their website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/6/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

China Delivery Robot Development Quickens During COVID-2019 Outbreak
'Something very much like a camouflage-painted kangaroo.' - Bruce Sterling, 1994.

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.' - Alfred Bester, 1956.

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...' - Harry Harrison, 1956.

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.' - AE van Vogt, 1944

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Neural Net Discovers Antibiotic
'...instantly the TEMS was ... creating and discarding scores of new sciences.'

China Delivery Robot Development Quickens During COVID-2019 Outbreak
'Something very much like a camouflage-painted kangaroo.'

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosynthesis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.