In the world of biomimicry, robotic snakes are nothing new. Their method of propulsion is something that researchers have been working to perfect in a machine. There have been robotic Titanaboas that show how a giant snake was no match against a warming planet and rescue robots that mimic a snake's powerful grip.
Now, thanks to Japanese researchers, we have an amphibious robotic snake that uses that amazing slithering propulsion to move on land and through water. Universal joints and belows make up the slinky body while paddles and passive wheels propel the robo-snake both on the ground and in the water.The Hirose Fukishima Lab says, "The control system of ACM-R5 is an advanced one. Each joint unit has CPU, battery, motors, so they can operate independently. Through communication lines each unit exchanges signals and automatically recognizes its number from the head, and how many units join the system. Thanks to this system operators can remove, add, and exchange units freely and they can operate ACM-R5 flexibly according to situations."
Check out the video below for a demonstration of the snake's movement in the water. It's pretty amazing and, at times, even a little creepy.
The creators say that there are still some software and hardware problems to be solved before the snake can be used in real-world settings, but the technology could eventually be useful in search and rescue or surveillance operations.