Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have spent years developing modular snake-like robots for all purposes, and the latest adaptation shows its snake-inspired technology works under country. The team has developed a SnakeBot submersible capable of navigating tight spaces, which scientists hope to see used to inspect military ships or investigate underwater pipes for clogging. congestion.
The latest version of CMU’s SnakeBot is dubbed the HUMRS, and like its predecessors, has a modular, reconfigurable design. We’ve seen previous versions packed with everything from force-sensing pins to tank-style grooves, or cameras to investigating pipes in nuclear power plants and surgical tools to grip and tissue removal in the patient.
This time, the team pieced together modules including thrusters, flotation control systems, rotary coupling devices, test sensors and action clamps to form an underwater version. HUMRS was recently plunged into a swimming pool at the university, where it passed underwater seals to demonstrate its maneuverability.
“We can go places where other robots can’t,” said Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor Howie Choset. “It can solidify around and get into hard-to-reach underwater spaces.”
One of the more promising uses for the SnakeBot submersible, in the team’s eyes, is to do a survey of naval ships at sea. When these ships were damaged, divers were sent to investigate either dock or return to port. Instead, having a robot that can be deployed for damage assessment would be much more effective.
Project team member Matt Fischer, who has served in the Navy for three years, said: “If they can get that information before the ship arrives at home or docks, it will save weeks or monthly in the maintenance schedule ”. “And vice versa, that saves money.”
Other potential applications include inspection of underwater piping or tanks and evaluation of offshore oil rigs and other infrastructure.
“The distinguishing feature is the robot’s form factor and flexibility,” said Nate Shoemaker-Trejo, a mechanical and mechatronic engineer at CMU. “The smallest versions of a conventional submersible are monolithic, one-piece arrangements. Narrow and articulated robotic snakes. The end result is an underwater robotic snake that can weave around corners and enter.” the small spaces that ordinary submersibles cannot travel. “
Source: Carnegie Mellon University