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Robotics Hardware

Robot Snake Can Climb Trees 90

kkleiner writes "The latest in a line of 'modsnakes' from Carnegie Mellon's Biorobotics Lab, Uncle Sam can move in a variety of different ways, including rolling, wiggling, and side-winding. It can also wrap itself around a pole and climb vertically, and even scale a tree. You have to watch this thing in action. There is something incredibly life-like and eerie about the way it scales the tree outdoors and then looks around with its camera 'eye.' Projects like Uncle Sam show how life-mimicking machines could revolutionize robotics in the near future."
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Robot Snake Can Climb Trees

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  • ...robots revolutionize you!
    • If you want a revolution. Make a robot that can sew a shirt.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      In the near past as well. Almost everything you own was made at least partly by robots. Indistrial robots have been around a couple of decades at least.

    • Should one call a doctor if these snakes climb for more than four hours?

  • If we're going to have killer robots from the future, can they at least look like the Terminator women and hopefully screw us to death?

    Perhaps that's coming with the next Apple upgrade.
  • ...and they may have just found lady's new best friend.
  • we're waiting on the Rule 34 action with these things!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:20PM (#33500146)

    Other than not having limbs, this has little to do with a snake. This looks like a bunch of U-Joints with servo motors, its "rolling" up the tree, after "rolling" on the ground. A snake does not move this way.. No animal that I know of moves this way.

    It's also obviously being controlled.. The AI to find a tree then decide to climb it (motivation?) would be really interesting.

    This is neat, but I don't see anything to do with snakes here.. Which is a shame.. Many years ago for a Comp Sci project, I had to model a snake and it's movements (virtually -- it was an OpenGL assignment). It was really interesting to do, mimicking those thousands of coordinated muscles with electronics would be pretty fantastic. Of course, different snakes move differently .. a sidewinder basically walks on two virtual "feet", whereas a python crawls and climbs with hundreds of individual "feet".

    • >> This is neat, but I don't see anything to do with snakes here.

      Slashdot: News thats neat. Stuff about snakes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday ( 582209 )

      This is neat, but I don't see anything to do with snakes here.. Which is a shame.

      I agree the writeup over-states the degree to which this robot is biomimetic, but why is that a bad thing? Evolution never even "discovered" the wheel.

      • Evolution never even "discovered" the wheel.

        Apparently you have not encountered the insidious Hoop Snake! [wikipedia.org] ;-)

        From the wiki:

        The hoop snake is mentioned in a letter from 1784 (published in Tour in the U. S. A., Vol. I, p. 263-65. London)[3]:
        " As other serpents crawl upon their bellies, so can this; but he has another method of moving peculiar to his own species, which he always adopts when he is in eager pursuit of his prey; he throws himself into a circle, running rapidly around, advancing like a hoop, with his tail arising and pointed forward in

        • If you throw an oroborus on the ground,
          it will roll because its round. (Appologies to Guy Lombardo's Silver Dollar)

          Can it talk?

        • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

          Thank you so much for causing me to ask Wikipedia about drop bears. [wikipedia.org] From the article:

          The game also features drop bear attacks and repellents. Purchase of the repellent, which cannot subsequently be discarded, dramatically increases the rate of drop bear attacks.

          (Emphasis added.) This had me laughing out loud. Thank you. (And now I have a game [ambrosiasw.com] to try.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SunSpot505 ( 1356127 )

      Nature is a fantastic designer. Sure, she works slowly, but every project is subjected to years of testing and refinement. It’s no wonder then that we see engineers looking to nature for inspiration in robotics.

      After reading this quote I was thinking the same thing, and also wondering what snake they looked at... Did it have a broken spine?

      I have a 80" arboreal python and it moves nothing like that on the ground or climbing a vertical post. Snakes don't twist on the ground, and most (arboreal) snakes don't wrap around trees like that either, as it is an extremely inefficient method of motion for moving. Watching how a real arboreal snake climbs a tree would have yielded a much better climber of a robot. In my

      • " This thing looks a worm after a rain" A perfect description.
      • The twisting on the ground looks like an attempt at sidewinding, but the videos at the linked site show that the robots can do that properly (maybe they need a good ground for that - but sidewinding *is* for flat grounds whereas undulation is OK for crawling among vegetables).
        Rolling (both on the ground and as a method of climbing trees) is not that bad - it is easy for robots but hard for real snakes (whose scales are specialized for locomotory use only on the ventral side).
        Btw., Gavin Miller (http://www.s

    • It is fully capable of snake like gates, but since it can grip and move a little different then a snake they are experimenting with other gates to see what is effective. If rolling up the tree is optimal for their snake like robot why not do it?
    • by amaupin ( 721551 )

      This looks like a bunch of U-Joints with servo motors, its "rolling" up the tree, after "rolling" on the ground.

      It's also obviously being controlled..

      Many years ago for a Comp Sci project, I had to model a snake and it's movements (virtually -- it was an OpenGL assignment).

      Flipping a quarter to determine which of its/it's to use isn't the best way, man! But hey, you lucked out and got one right!

      (I tease because I can - I learned the difference between the two uses in school! Agreed completely about

  • and we've got suggestions of Female Terminators, robotic dildo's, and Japanese robotic tentacle hentai. Is there anything else left to say?
    • Maybe something involving Cutie Honey, but that kinda overlaps with categories 1 and 3 so no.

      --d'oh, wait, there's an invisible monkey.


    • Android Jay: "So you like robotic animals, huh?"
      Gynoid Justice: "Sure."
      Android Jay: "That's cool. Even robotic snakes?"
      Gynoid Justice: "Well, you can't exclude a robot just 'cause they're not cuddly. Of course I like robotic snakes."
      Android Jay: "How 'bout robotic trouser snakes?"
      Gynoid Justice: "Ooh, what's a robotic trouser snake?

    • by AnalogBrain ( 1882306 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:39PM (#33500404)
      Robotic snake Overlords? Modular snakes on a plane? "It can also wrap itself around a pole and climb vertically" - Yeah, but not as well as your mom? See? Still ripe for comments.
  • because they can't figure out it they should be pointing it to /dev/psaux or /dev/input/mice. Not to mention all the confusion over ps2/imps2.

    (Sigh. That's the best joke I could wriggle out of this one without referring to robotic snake overlords. Ssssorry.)
  • For an encore the robot snake grabbed an apple and headed for a tree next to a robot female.

  • That's interesting. I assume that the climbing method that this robot is using is not mimicking a real-life animal. Is there a snake (or other animal) that will wrap itself into a spiral around a tree trunk and then roll along its spinal axis to climb? Is it physically possible for a snake to do this? Will a snake even roll on its spinal axis on the ground? (I'm just curious.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 )

      As far as I know, the only snakes that allow themselves to be on their back are either playing dead or actually dead. There's at least one species that will roll over and emit a "death odor" to fool predators, but with most snakes, even if they're almost dead, if you roll them on their back they go straight over again.

  • by MrTripps ( 1306469 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:42PM (#33500440)
    Now we need a robot Samuel L. Jackson to complain about them being on a MFing plane.
  • Like a boa constrictor. This would be useful in a lot of large cities, as pest control. Even better, would be if they could be powered by the dead rats that they kill. It would cut down the time needed to recharge them.

    I just hope they would not develop a taste for human meat.

  • It gave me the heebie-jeebies.
  • Power... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sooner Boomer ( 96864 ) <sooner.boomr@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:59PM (#33500652) Journal

    ...it's all about power. Until a small, very power-dense storage medium is developed (better than current technology), this (and powered prosthetics) will remain only a curiosity. Once you can power it autonomously, there are no limits to the things this device (and those that follow) can do. But this is no easy feat! Perhaps beamed power would work. Or make one that can eat and digest rats and birds!

    • Once you can power it autonomously, there are no limits to the things this device (and those that follow) can do.

      No. It's all about intelligence. This thing can do nothing autonomously. That's why I declare IT IS NOT A ROBOT!

      If this is a robot, explain to me why my car is not a robot. It rolls on mechanical 'wheels' and has all kinds of 'activators.' I just have to be on hand to control it.

      I think this definition of robot comes from researchers who would rather say "I work with robots!" instead of "I work with a bunch of servos that I turn on and off with switches that I hold in my hand--pretty futuristic,

  • 99: What's that?
    86: An electric snake!
    99: Really! What does it run on?
    86: Tiny little feet!
  • The tether is powering the "snake" and very likely it's providing the control signals too. Get back to us when you can include the power source and the AI in the "snake"'s body...

  • It's not news until it's got frickin' lasers.

  • This technology could fill a niche (literally) in the mechanical sex toy market.
  • There are factories full of robots that do a million different things more interesting and useful then this.
    Make something that isnt plugged in and runs by itself and get back to us. We have all been waiting here bored for years now...

    ooh its a snake at the end of a hundred feet of a lawn mower orange electric cord, glad i made it to 2010

  • I for one ... am scared! This shit is nightmare inducing! Kill it with fire!

  • ... and an apple or it didn't happen.

  • There's bad ass robots out there in the world..these would be the prison punks of the robot world

    I'm a drone plane I drop bombs on enemy countries

    I weld the sides onto aircraft carriers


  • It's amazing how many people laud mother nature as a design consultancy who think that ten years for Perl 6 was too long.

    Personally, I regard pretty much everything after the ribosome as derivative and second rate. Like most other great scientists, after a major breakthrough early in her career, it's been nothing but permutations ever since.

    Look at her recent work. Her answer to large cranium/small orifice was more powerful contractions. The snake was the original rubber mallet. Instead of finessing the

  • This is great news for the coconut pickers who climb to great heights in unsafe conditions, often putting their lives in grave danger! http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/article406266.ece [thehindu.com]
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @06:08PM (#33503142) Homepage Journal


  • This has pretty much been done already, the only real difference - one is climbing a pole, this one seems to be able to do a tree. http://singularityhub.com/2010/04/19/dennis-hong-presents-his-8-award-winning-robots-video/ [singularityhub.com]
  • I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking tree!

  • On step closer to realizing Bladerunner as our reality.

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