A robot that slithers like a snake

July 03, 2012 12:00 am | Updated 04:25 am IST - HYDERABAD:

It slithers efficiently and effortlessly. Like a desert snake, it also moves sideways.

Equipped to adapt to different terrain, this snake robot developed by a student of International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT)-Hyderabad can be guided with a hand-worn data glove.

R. Sriranjan, the Robotics Research Centre (RRC) student at the IIIT, says he came up with the design to make a robot more efficient in search and rescue operations. The snake design for this small compartmented robot is to help it autonomously change its gait depending on the terrain and also manually control it with data glove, a hand-worn interactive device. An external camera guides the snake robot on approach of a different terrain. “If there is a change in terrain, say if it is moving from sand to grass, the camera will alert it and the robot switches its gait accordingly,” says Sriranjan. Compared to the wheeled robots, the snake robots overcome terrain-related challenges more effectively and serve in search and rescue, apart from mine detection. Different movements that the snake robot has been successfully tested include side-winding, an inspiration from the movement of desert snake, which helps it find way with a side movement when required. It can also crawl like a caterpillar and roll if it has to, apart from being able to raise its hood and look beyond an obstacle.

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