Humanoid robots like Atlas from Boston Dynamics can jump over obstacles, and a robotic dog SpotMini no problem marching up the stairs. Unfortunately, it is beyond the control of a ladder on which to climb using not only legs but also arms. While robots Boston Dynamics this seems like a daunting task, researchers from Kyoto University and the University of telecommunications in Japan has developed a mechanism capable of it. However, the design of this robot may seem very unusual.
Engineers abandoned the design with two or four limbs and created a robot in the form of a snake. The design is extremely simple — it consists almost entirely of motors, tubes and joints. This simplicity gives it flexibility slowly and safely to curl around each stage and upstairs. The video shows that she perfectly recreates the movements of real snakes.
It is believed that the robotic snake there are many different applications. For example, he is able to crawl through the pipes and look for locations of blockage, and to perform rescue operations like search for victims in earthquakes. In may 2016, a similar robot Eelume demonstrated its effectiveness in repairing structures. Later, in February 2017, he learned to work in the depths of the open sea.
In addition to flexibility, the serpentine design has another advantage — low cost. How much it costs to develop a robot-snake — is unknown, but given the minimal amount of components, this amount is clearly less than the cost of robots Boston Dynamics. By the way, the sales of robots and dogs SpotMini scheduled for 2019, but the price is still unknown.
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