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Snake Robots: Can You Watch This Without Squirming?

Are you afraid of snakes? What about robots? What about snake robots? Now here’s one of those new innovations in robotics that’s solving problems by combining two things that don’t quite seem to go together at first thought.
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Today Ever Widening Circles will take you on a little journey of possibility when it comes to pure ingenuity.

Image: Snake robot Source

Did you ever stop to ask yourself why most of us envision the human form when we think of the word “Robot?” What if the real potential of robotics lies with thinking outside that box? Here’s your introduction to snake robotics!

Having the flexibility and movements of a slithering reptile allows these robots to squeeze into spaces that their human-form, mechanical cousins, and we humans, haven’t been able to explore. They can do so much more! We will be able to identify structural problems in hidden places, perform minimally invasive surgery, and find survivors in fragile search and rescue missions (to name a few applications).

This impressive innovation, which obviously has adopted its looks from a little friend in nature, is just one incredible example of biomimicry; a growing field of science at the intersection of engineering, design, and biology.

Here’s a quick look from the awesome robotics channel, cmurobotics, at where we are going today…

After we get over the impulse to recoil from how snake-like it is, we can see that this robot has some incredible abilities and applications. Can you even imagine what it will be able to do underwater? Check it out in action in this video from HiBot.

So, what really is the potential for the snake robot?

Just think of the many dirty jobs that, performed by humans, endanger lives. Or the jobs that require access to small spaces, spaces that even conventional robots, with limbs or wheels, could never access. Consider the possibility of assisting in minimally-invasive surgery, for inspection of power plants, for aiding in search and rescue efforts, in archaeological digs.

Need to Solve a Problem? Turn to Nature!

The natural world is a remarkable problem solver. So, why aren’t we turning to nature to find more answers to our complex problems? Here’s how biomimicry is helping us build a better future!. When you think about all of the fields of work and disciplines of study in which we humans are engaged, and the number of associated problems we are trying to solve, it becomes clear that the snake robot has an immense amount of potential.

Here’s a short, exceptionally informative video, from the Engadget Expand that explores the reaches of this potential.

Snake robots aren’t just interesting creepy crawlies, they offer us a chance to explore our world and enhance our experience.

Why else should we care?

Simply put, inventions like the snake robot remind us to look to nature in our search for solutions to our many problems.

Just think about it for a moment: humans have been perking along, solving problems with clever inventions since the dawn of simple machines, like the wheel. That’s about 5,500 years. But Mother Nature has been barreling along, solving every challenge an organism can face on this earth for 3.5 billion years!

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