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Slideshow: Robotic Snakes & Worms Get Under Your Skin
2/5/2013

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Dr. Gavin Miller designed snake robots like this one using his own funding. He wanted to find out how the highly variable methods snake use to navigate different types of terrain could be applied to robotics. The goal was to develop robots that could take samples, carry sensors, and even make physical changes in different environments, primarily as search-and-rescue aids. Unlike some other robots in this slideshow, Miller's are untethered, so they must carry their own computers and batteries, and they can be easily controlled remotely. SnakeRobots.com shows several generations of Miller's experiments, as well as simulations he developed to refine locomotion strategies. (Source: Gavin Miller/SnakeRobots.com)
Dr. Gavin Miller designed snake robots like this one using his own funding. He wanted to find out how the highly variable methods snake use to navigate different types of terrain could be applied to robotics. The goal was to develop robots that could take samples, carry sensors, and even make physical changes in different environments, primarily as search-and-rescue aids. Unlike some other robots in this slideshow, Miller's are untethered, so they must carry their own computers and batteries, and they can be easily controlled remotely. SnakeRobots.com shows several generations of Miller's experiments, as well as simulations
he developed to refine locomotion strategies.
(Source: Gavin Miller/SnakeRobots.com)

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Dated?
Elizabeth M   2/8/2013 10:36:28 AM
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Ah, I wondered about the Slinky and actually suspected it might still be out there amusing children and adults alike! So I guess I'm not so old after all. ;)

Corona Rich
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Dated?
Corona Rich   2/8/2013 9:52:23 AM
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Yes, slinkys are still around.  The one I bought my kids years back was plastic.

MY slinky was metal, and didn't have one of those sissy clamps on each end to keep you from poking yourself.

Charles Murray
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Re: Creeping and crawly
Charles Murray   2/7/2013 7:38:54 PM
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Liz, I believe Slinkies still exist, don't they? So we'll cut you some slack on the issue of that being a "dated" observation.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Creeping and crawly
Ann R. Thryft   2/7/2013 12:11:02 PM
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Everything dates everyone, doesn't it? But I'm with you--I can imagine an engineer looking at Slinky's movements and wondering how to motorize and automate them. First there's a design that uses a helical shape, gravity, and momentum, and then the big jump to motors.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Fukushima
Ann R. Thryft   2/7/2013 12:10:33 PM
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Chuck, I agree--that's one of the applications on a general level: inspecting things in nuclear power plants.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Creeping and crawly
Elizabeth M   2/7/2013 4:10:21 AM
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Exactly! That was my first thought, too! I guess that dates us, doesn't it? But it is interesting to see how the movement of that simple toy was a precursor for what's being done in robotics...and that toy moved simply on design alone without actuators. I guess you never know where inspiration will come from or how these things evolve.

Charles Murray
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Re: Fukushima
Charles Murray   2/6/2013 10:10:53 PM
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Still, I'm sure it would have been useful at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Ann.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: robotic snakes
Ann R. Thryft   2/6/2013 4:56:46 PM
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Here's a shorter link to a video of that Israeli army spy snake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t2nFHjtIJQ

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: robotic snakes
Ann R. Thryft   2/6/2013 4:55:19 PM
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That's cute--I thought it was cammo.The head also looks a bit like it resembles a gas-mask.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Fascinating
Cabe Atwell   2/6/2013 4:28:44 PM
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Don't forget the snake/worm robots in surgery. http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=258121

 

That sort of mobility will push the medical field into new, and I imagine uncomfortable, areas.

 

C

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