Slithering Rubber Robot Mimics Snake

21st century has witnessed some of the most amazing inventions from telephones to cellphone, tablets, cars and most of all robots. We have moved on from clumsy glitch prototypes to remarkably efficient models capable of performing their dedicated task with cent percent accuracy. The current target is not only to minimize the power consumption but also to make the bodies compact and adaptable to every environment. In this aspect flexibility is a must. Many robots, owing to their hardware design of metal lack this ability and cannot be used in confined spaces. MIT has tried to resolve this issue with its slithering rubber robot.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States. MIT has always contributed a lot to the world in the manner of technology starting from the World Wide Web to the latest prototypes. Researchers at MIT have come up with a slithering rubber robot that could come to represent a paradigm shift in the world of robotics. We have always thought about robots as a structure of complex wiring and metal exterior but MIT has changed this stereotype by introducing its slithering rubber robot. Basically the robots are an imitation of some form or thin that are able to complete a task, humanoids are the imitation of human, Paro is an imitation of seal and so on. This slithering rubber robot has drawn its inspiration from snake. Just as the snake moves on the ground in the same manner this robots slithers away. It may seem weird why researchers thought of providing such movement to a robot but many benefits emerge as we think about it deeply. The mobility of traditional “hard” robots is limited by their fixed joints: They can’t move in confined spaces, and have to be programmed very precisely to avoid collisions that might harm them or their environments.

Slithering movement enables this robots to reach congested places such as pipes and holes, where other robots cannot easily reach. It could potentially be used from anything to inspecting nuclear power plants to exploring distant planets. The MIT researchers will present and demonstrate their slithery rubber robot at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems later this month. The arm, which was fabricated using 3-D-printed molds, is the latest in a series of projects in CSAIL Director Daniela Rus’ research group that focus on the burgeoning field of soft robots, which have the potential to be safer, more resilient, and more efficient for certain tasks than their rigid-bodied counterparts. The deformable structures of soft robots means they can squeeze into tight spots and change direction more nimbly. They are also resilient enough to handle minor collisions — and potentially even use these encounters to gain information about their surroundings.

Complicated algorithms were developed to determine the body curvature required for the robot to make different movements. There were several challenges to overcome, for example, determining the particular set of curved arcs required to get the robot to a specific point in space, especially in a confined area such as a pipe.