Robot Snake Can Conquer Hills and Slopes

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Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Oregon State University, and Zoo Atlanta tapped into the power of Mother Nature to solve a robotics problem.

The team of researchers analyzed the sidewinder snake’s ability to quickly and efficiently climb sandy hills and slopes, hoping to mimic that ability in robotic snakes.

“The original goal for this research was really to try to understand how these interesting snakes (…) are able to achieve their incredible locomotion,” said Daniel Goldman, Associate Professor at Georgia Tech University, in a YouTube video.

Turns out, sidewinders climb those sandy slopes by “simply increasing the amount of their body area in contact with the granular surfaces they’re climbing.”

Using that knowledge, the researchers were able to get the robotic snake — which was once only able to travel across level ground — to climb sandy surfaces.

The team says it plans to use what it learned from the sidewinder to better adapt its robotic creation for all kinds of terrain — including extraterrestrial terrain.

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