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The Search Serpent: The Next Wave in Robotics

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CMU robot

Howie Choset has developed a snake robot that moves without the aid of a fixed base. It can coordinate internal degrees movement to do a variety of locomotion capabilities.

Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University researcher Howie Choset worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Annette Hossoi to develop a snake-like robot that can chart its own path through any type of terrain and has many degrees of freedom for motion.

Choset previously conducted robotic research that incorporated the use of ultrasound sensors to plan a path between two points so the robot could explore on its own. "It was a stepping stone towards a series of other problems, which we eventually addressed, that allowed us to arrive at the snake robot we have today," Choset says.

The snake-like robot can move through complex environments filled with obstacles and debris. The robot is equipped with sensors, a camera, and a light so it can function in varying terrains.

"I hope that someday my robots will be capable of traversing those territories and my robot would be a tool that rescue workers would carry with them," Choset says.

Choset developed another type of snake robot, called CardioArm, that is used for minimally invasive heart surgery. CardioArm, which is just 11 millimeters in diameter and is controlled using a computer and joystick, is mainly used to seek out and remove damaged heart tissue.

From National Science Foundation
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