Snake Movement Inspires Search-and-Rescue Robot Design

All-terrain search-and-rescue robots must be able to move over a wide variety of surfaces, explore tight spaces, and ascend slopes of varying degrees. Some robots can already do these types of things, but most of them need to consume hefty amounts of energy to so do. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have designed a more flexible, energy-efficient search-and-rescue robot by observing the way snakes move.

Scalybot 2, a robot that mimics the sinuous locomotion of snakes, was developed by Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate Hamid Marvi at Georgia Tech. “By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy,” Marvi explains.

Snakes are highly maligned creatures. I really like that Hamid’s research is showing the public that snakes can help people.”

— Joe Mendelson, curator of herpetology, Zoo Atlanta

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© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


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