Howie Choset, engineer and robotics researcher at Carnegie Mellon, is part of a team developing "snakebots" with funding from the US Navy's Office of Naval Research. Potential applications for the serpentine robots range from engine maintenance to bomb disarming to disaster rescue. Snip from National Geographic
Snake-like robots already exist in rudimentary forms. But Choset's creations push the envelope. Small and very strong by design, Choset's snakebots measure just five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The use of beveled gears around their circumference, allows the serpentine robots many more degrees of movement than conventional robots--including the ability to move efficiently in three-dimensional space. Choset's machines use complex mathematical algorithms that enable them to autonomously sense and respond to obstacles and variations they encounter while navigating across landscapes.
Living snakes move by cyclic forms of locomotion, or "gaits." Adapting these gaits to the mechanical snake enables it to maneuver effectively through three-dimensional terrain. Choset's current snakebot prototype is constructed from many separate pieces connected with hinges. Eventually, the device will look much like a real snake, with a smooth surface "skin" possibly made of piezoelectric polymer materials that hold special electrical properties. This skin would help to propel the snakebot by expanding and contracting as it is alternately charged with electric current. The resulting motion, which would resemble that of a real snake, would help the snakebot move safely in cluttered spaces.
Check out the "Snake Robot Projects
" page on the website
for the university's Sensor Based Planning Lab. Choset's personal homepage is here
Link to National Geographic story, Discuss
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]