07 September 2010

Is Zhora Just Around the Corner?

One step closer to "Blade Runner":

Carnegie Mellon’s Incredible Robot Snake Climbs a Real Tree

Carnegie Mellon has taught its robotic snake to climb trees, though one hopes it won’t start offering your spouse apples. “Uncle Sam” (presumably named for its red, white, and blue markings) is a snake robot built from modular pieces. The latest in a line of ‘modsnakes’ from Carnegie Mellon’s Biorobotics Lab, Uncle Sam can move in a variety of different ways including rolling, wiggling, and side-winding. It can also wrap itself around a pole and climb vertically, which comes in handy when scaling a tree. You have to watch this thing in action. There is something incredibly life-like, and eerie, about the way it scales the tree outdoors and then looks around with its camera ‘eye’. Projects like Uncle Sam show how life-mimicking machines could revolutionize robotics in the near future.
I hope there are other efforts underway to make snakes like the one Zhora dances with in Blade Runner.

In the first Suki series, Suki works in robot theory as a consultant to industry.

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