Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. have invented Scalybot 2, a search and rescue robot that can move on uneven surfaces.
The two-link robot is controlled by a remote-controlled joystick and it moves forward and backward using four motors. It is quite flexible, can move in very tight uneven surface and consumes very less energy, according to the researchers.
They designed the robot by studying the movement of snakes. They conducted a study on 20 different species of snakes at the Zoo Atlanta and found that snake can move in tight space and on uneven surface.
Snakes don't bend their body to move. They lift their ventral scales and pull themselves forward by sending their muscular travelling wave from head to tail.
"By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy," said Hamid Marvi, a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech.
Just like snakes, Scalybot 2 can automatically change the angle of its scales when it encounters different terrains and slopes. The robot will prove useful in search and rescue operations at the time of a disaster.
"Snakes are highly maligned creatures," said Joe Mendelson, curator of herpetology at Zoo Atlanta. "I really like that Hamid's research is showing the public that snakes can help people."
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