Robotic Snake Apes Sidewinder Snake to Scale Sandy Slopes

October 22, 2014, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Mother Nature has always been an inspiration for awesome tech advancements. A recent innovation born out of a collaboration of researchers show so much can be done on the tech front.

This one also proves that technology has so much more to look for inspiration from nature.  Okay, let’s come to our point.

Don’t we often find it hard scaling dunes and sandy slopes? But look at nature. Mother Earth has made her babies suited for living in every environment you can think of.

For instance, the sidewinder snake would tell you the perfection behind its design when you see one of them effortlessly scale sandy slopes. The collaboration of researchers we were talking about in the beginning has found inspiration from the sidewinder snake so as to create a robotic snake.


The Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Oregon State University and Zoo Atlanta joined hands to study the motion of these snakes. And they ended up with a success tale.

Daniel Goldman, Associate Professor at Georgia Tech University, credits the motion of these snakes to the increase in area of contact with the body and the granular particles.

The study looked at how robotic snakes too can be made to climb up slippery sand surfaces.  And they indeed found success. The team is now looking to expand their research so as to make robotics suited to all uneven terrain. That might include even the extra terrestrial campaign where prevailing robotic motion tends to fail.

Joe Mendelson, director of research at Zoo Atlanta, feels there is much more to snakes than rather being the venomous creatures, as assumed by many. He believes the crawling creatures offer much towards humanity’s progress in the right direction.

The new robotic snake looks set to open new avenues where researchers can come up with projects that involve collaboration of biology and robotics. The study has been published in detail in the issue of Journal Science dated October 10.

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