CMU Snake Robots Can Now Strangle Things on Contact

Watch out, necks: snake robots are flying at you

1 min read
CMU Snake Robots Can Now Strangle Things on Contact

See this little guy smirking at you? Want to know how he got up there? A word of advice: as of right now, do not stand anywhere near a snake robot while looking like a tree, because these things will now fly right at you and go for your throat.

As far as the robot is concerned, I imagine that your neck probably makes for a perfectly acceptable vantage point from which to survey an area, at least until you pass out and fall over. We've already seen these robots climb up people, but the new trick that they've learned now is to reflexively grab on to stuff after being thrown at it:

Using the accelerometers inside each module of the snake robot we are able to detect when the robot hits a pole or branch after being thrown and have the robot automatically perch on contact.

Pole or branch or your neck, of course.

This work was supported by the Army Research Lab, which can only mean one thing: snake robots are being weaponized. No doubt there have been super secret tests with catapults full of snakebots being hurled at neck level at hordes of hapless grad students. Obviously there is only one prudent course of action: make reinforced spiked collars mandatory for all citizens. You know, just in case these flying snake robots go rogue.

Incidentally, robotic snakes totally stole the fly n' grab trick from real snakes, some of whom launch themselves from trees and glide to other trees, grabbing on with their bodies on impact. You can see video of that here.

[ CMU Biorobotics ]

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Image of a combine harvester within a wheat field, harvesting.

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter, with 20 percent of the world's wheat trade. Combine harvesters that can drive themselves using technology from Russian company Cognitive Pilot are helping to make the harvesting process faster and more efficient.

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Practice has shown, however, that this kind of carefree field cultivation is inefficient and dangerous. It works only in ideal fields, which are almost never encountered in real life. If there's a log or a rock in the field, or a couple of village paramours dozing in the rye under the sun, the tractor will run right over them. And not all countries have reliable satellite coverage—in agricultural markets like Kazakhstan, coverage can be unstable. This is why, if you want safe and efficient farming, you need to equip your vehicle with sensors and an artificial intelligence that can see and understand its surroundings instead of blindly following GPS navigation instructions.

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