The snake robot slips through the barriers

serpent-robot-imageThe realization of robots inspired snake occupies a prominent place in robotics over the past decade. But it has hitherto been difficult to accurately reproduce the movements of the reptile. A skill that researchers SINTEF have managed to emulate a system composed of Aiko robot and a virtual double of the snake which allows experiments on computer. Unlike most of its predecessors, this snake does not need wheels to be able to move with ease. For if the recent addition facilitate the removal, by converting the twisting motion in a continuous slip, he moves better on smooth surfaces. But the interest is to use this type of machine in the affected areas. “In a collapsed building where there are lots of rubble, for example after an earthquake, a wheeled snake would probably be stuck,” says Aksel Transeth researcher at SINTEF.

A virtual double
A robot more versatile, more closely reproducing the twisting of the snake could he, pushing the obstacles he encounters, like stones. This new model is called Aiko, measuring 1.5 meters and is composed of segments of PVC tubes with motors connecting joints. It is capable of pushing objects that barrier in his path at 15 cm per second. Moreover, a virtual double of Aiko, which accurately reflects the movements and reactions of a snake in real life, will be used to guide system development. Thus, if this is not the first attempt to move obstacles to snake robot Aiko is the first to have a virtual double that simulates previously movement. However the research team qualifies: “It is easier to simulate on a computer than to build a robot and to experience in reality.”

Promising advances
It therefore remains difficult to construct a model of robot that accurately reproduced the movements of real reptile. It is still too complex to master perfectly the reflexes of robot and some segments of Aiko can interact with the ground or obstacles he encounters in different ways in different situations. For example, a segment can slide over an obstacle while another will try to climb over. To help achieve these movements, researchers have launched a program transcript of gestures algorithms to mathematically translate their observations. They also explore new ways to improve those movements. One of them is the integration of sensors.