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April 13, 2006

Coming Soon: ROBOT Snakes On A Plane!

Robot snakes... I hate robot snakes:

For most people, snakes seem unpleasant or even threatening. But Howie Choset sees in their delicate movements a way to save lives.

The 37-year-old Carnegie Mellon University professor has spent years developing snake-like robots he hopes will eventually slither through collapsed buildings in search of victims trapped after natural disasters or other emergencies.

In recent weeks, Choset and some of his students made what he said was an industry breakthrough: enabling the articulated, remote-controlled devices to climb up and around pipes.

Rescue workers say such robots would help them meet their challenge of locating survivors. Current equipment has limited mobility and is usually lowered into fallen structures, Choset said.

"Right now, the way to get to these trapped survivors is to pull the rubble out one rock at a time," Choset said. "So our dream is to have the snake robot thread through this collapsed rubble and get to victims more quickly."

Thanks to yls.


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posted by Ace at 02:59 PM

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