Latest Issue of Science News


People

Building robots that slither

View the videos

Howie Choset is a roboticist, but his team’s creations bear little resemblance to C-3PO or R2-D2. Instead, Choset finds inspiration in nature — specifically, snakes.

“A lot of people have this notion that robots are modeled after people,” says Choset, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. But the animal kingdom is full of organisms that use different types of locomotion, he says.

The snake robots in Choset’s laboratory can slither, roll, swim and climb straight up. These slender machines, usually built from a series of metal pieces containing motors and electronics, can also squeeze into tight spaces.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.