the camera in the head of the robot.
Researchers imbued the snake robots with many
different gaits that enable them to do some pretty amazing
things. The linear gait uses sine waves which the snake
robot communicates throughout its mechanisms making it
move straight forward or backwards in an up and down
kind of motion. The snakes can use this gait in combination
with other gaits such as cornering to achieve progress
through difficult spaces. The gaits help the robot move
through tight areas such as pipes.
A side-winding gait reminds us of rattlesnakes that
move sideways. A side-winding robot uses a vertical and a
horizontal sine wave to make the snakes move to one side.
By side-winding one half of the snake one way and the
other half the other way, the snake will roll in place as it
moves. This helps it to scale difficult terrain.
With the corkscrewing gait, the robot moves in a spiral
that starts at the front of the snake and moves backwards,
pushing the snake robot forward. This gait helps the snake
move forward and even backwards, especially in spite of
obstacles. This gait also helps when the robot is moving
through a hole in the wall.
Seaswarm images courtesy of: A project by the MIT
Senseable City Lab senseable.mit.edu/seaswarm,
The remaining gaits include rolling for sideways
movement, swimming on top of the water, climbing inside
channels and pipes, up poles, around corners, and inside
The applications of these robots are immediately
practical. While the seaswarm robots have potential for
cleaning many substances out of water relatively cheaply,
the snake robots can explore, examine, and perform many
other functions in many types of environments. Both types
of bots can achieve something that eventually touches all of
us: a better quality of life. SV
Modular snake robot site
12 SERVO 12.2010