The Carnegie Mellon University is one place which is known for its innovative robotic designs; and they have come up with a robotic snake, which can actually climb trees!
The Carnegie Technical Schools or Carnegie Tech was founded in 1900, while the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research was established in 1913. Both these institutions merged in 1967 to form the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US and have been constantly ranked among the top 25 Universities in the US. It has been a premier institute in the US engaged in technological research and now boasts of its new robot made from modular pieces in the form of a snake.
This robot is named ‘Uncle Sam’, most probably because of its blue, red, and white colors. This is the latest product from the Carnegie Mellon’s Biorobotics Lab. Uncle Sam can move about in lots of ways, like wiggling, side winding, and rolling. It can even wrap itself around any object like a pole or a tree and climb. There is something amazingly life-like about this robot snake, and it has cameras for eyes.
Nature has been the inspiration for Carnegie Mellon’s technicians; and they have put in a lot of characteristics in the ‘modsnakes’, making it resemble a real snake. The biorobotics lab of Carnegie Mellon has closely observed the real snake, mostly on how they move about. These robots can climb trees, which are 1 meter wide, and the biorobotics lab is on its way to make some enhancements so that these snakes can climb thicker trees. The modular robotics has various advantages, one of which is that it makes it possible for the robot snake to assemble itself. It can also be easily repaired. It is built with repeated segments of actuators and sensors. These snake robots can become very useful for searching survivors in hostile buildings in case of any natural disaster.
The modsnake Uncle Sam might remind you of the Tentacle Robot which is being developed by the US Army Research Laboratory, working on a Robotic Tentacle Manipulator. This robotic system has three robots in the form of snakes on a circular base. These robots will be able to swim, crawl, and climb through places and objects, and at the same time, transmit images to the soldier operating these robots.
You can watch these amazing modsnakes on YouTube, and you have to believe your eyes; they are real!