Tree Climbing Snake Robot
September 5, 2010 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Modular Snake Robot Climbs a Tree. [Via]
posted by homunculus (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related post.
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on September 5, 2010


Make it eat robot bird eggs next!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:14 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


scary, if i saw that robot squirming on the floor next to my bed, i would as they said in the old west "lit a shuck outta there"!!
posted by tustinrick at 3:18 PM on September 5, 2010


It's looking for apples. Robo-adam-and-eve better watch out.
posted by Elmore at 3:22 PM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


And we're one step closer to being batteries.
posted by oddman at 3:32 PM on September 5, 2010


Extension cord? Really?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Snake-charmers around the world collectively tremble at their upcoming unemployment.
posted by Fizz at 3:36 PM on September 5, 2010


Extension cord? Really?

You haven't played enough video games. That's clearly the glowing red spot.
posted by Netzapper at 4:01 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Soon they will be spying on us.


No, really.
posted by elder18 at 4:03 PM on September 5, 2010


I freaked my wife out just by reading her a description of it.

Me: Hey listen to this.
Her: What?
Me: A robotic...
Her: Uh...yeah?
Me: ...snake...
Her: *alarmed* Umm...
Me: ...climbing a tree!
Her: NOOOOOoooooo

After watching it, I tried to tell her it was actually kind of cute, but she divorced me before I could.
posted by DU at 4:04 PM on September 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hmm, I was going to link to that Japanese swimming snakebot which is pretty awesome. It really does look alive swimming around like that.
posted by delmoi at 4:04 PM on September 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


that Japanese swimming snakebot

Ho-ly shit. Make it 50 times larger, and if that's not a video game come to life, I don't know what is.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:14 PM on September 5, 2010


I watched it, thinking "well, I guess this isn't too creepy to watch, considering it OH GOD THE ONE GIANT EYE."
posted by Countess Elena at 4:21 PM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's it, I'm re-joining the Frankenstein Destroyers first thing in the morning.
posted by reverend cuttle at 4:24 PM on September 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is what happens when, "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" gets taken too literally.

Get it? Plane! Ha! ha. huh.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:31 PM on September 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I see this in smaller form, minus the power cord, climbing up some utility poles, broadcast towers, into ATMs. I am both entertained and a little disturbed. The way it moved up the tree was a really interesting use of modular parts, though. Must go watch some nature documentaries to remind myself how normal snakes do it.

Also, the way it moved on the ground makes me want some robotic sperm fertilizes robotic egg clips.
posted by efio at 4:34 PM on September 5, 2010


Pardon while I step off onto my own little idea for a moment.

When I was a kid, the scary robots of science fiction were made of metal, and moved in a robotic fashion. They thought with computer chips and their one failing was their inability to experience the emotions that would allow them compassion.

Now, as an adult, the scary robots of science fiction are made of flesh, and move in a manner as close to organic as possible. They think with organic processors, and their one failing is that they don't know what to do with the emotions they experience.

There is a reason for this progression away from the concept of the metallic Übermensch and the reason is simple, it was a false concept. When it came into being, the resources of earth were understood to be endless, and the metallic Übermensch would conquer them all for the comfort of humanity. The only danger was if this technology somehow turned against us. But as we progressed as a civilization we found that our resources were not endless and that our technology was just as flawed as we are, we became concerned with the idea of creating something that would compete against use for the limited resources of earth.

Art changed to reflect this knowledge. Robots are no longer some metallic, alien creatures. They are us. (This progression is seen pretty clearly in the Terminator series)

I used to be afraid, on some distant, childish level, of the robot apocalypse. The inevitable clash of man against his superior creation, but I no longer am. It may happen, but in the end, I assure you, the robots will lose because their existence is predicated upon the same flawed concept that bought them into being, that the resources of earth are endless.

There's a reason that all life on earth counts on carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen instead of lead, iron, gold, and manganese. That reason can be seen pretty clearly just by looking at a periodic table if you understand that there are (generally) a greater available quantity of the elements as you move up and left and less of the elements as you move right and down. Even a really common metal like manganese that has a functional role in many of the processes of life is still incredibly rare in its pure, un-oxidized form. The form that a robot may find useful.

In order to get a common metal like manganese into a useful form for a robot, energy must be expended. Lots of energy. The ore must be mined and then refined, a very expensive process from an energy standpoint.

If robots ever became sentient, and decided it was time to off man and take over earth, this energy deficit would be a serious problem for them. In order to get around this energy deficit, robots would have to use different elements to create themselves. Chances are the elements they would pick would be carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen because they are abundant on earth and processes to refine them are also cheap from an energy perspective. They would have to shed their previous designs and take up new ones, mimicking organic life. They would in the end, be almost indistinguishable from us (Battlestar Galatica).
posted by 517 at 4:40 PM on September 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


The way it climbs, wrapping itself tightly then spinning its entire body, is really unique. Looks like a snake, but doesn't move like one.
posted by cosmac at 4:43 PM on September 5, 2010


Extension cord? Really?

Batteries, for every conceivable device they power--whether it's your laptop, your cellphone, or a robotic snake--are the Achilles Heel of electronics. Even the best batteries are crap. (And robot snakes in particular need a lot of power to climb those trees so they can fall upon you later).
posted by zardoz at 4:44 PM on September 5, 2010



The way it climbs, wrapping itself tightly then spinning its entire body,

And now imagine it doing that to your neck.
posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on September 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sir! Step AWAY from the "overlords" joke!
posted by Trochanter at 4:59 PM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Take that radiator clamp off the tail and that thing is screwed... I ain't scared!
posted by HuronBob at 5:04 PM on September 5, 2010


This thing is just one Japanese schoolgirl away from causing trouble.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:23 PM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


(And robot snakes in particular need a lot of power to climb those trees so they can fall upon you later).

Yeah, but... I mean, it's one thing for the ED-209 to have a blind spot that happens to be exactly where the LOYAL AS A PUPPY switch is, but it's a whole 'nother level of dumbfuckery if I can just unplug the fucker from the wall.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:42 PM on September 5, 2010


Sys Rq, clearly the extension cord is just there to make the snake robot seem vulnerable and therefore safe— it's actually completely unnecessary. In reality, each snake segment contains its own biomass power generator. The clamps and actuators that connect each segment to the next double as lamprey-style rotary rasps.

</nighmares>
posted by hattifattener at 6:12 PM on September 5, 2010


I imagine the best use for this as an automated colonoscopy tool. Don't worry; as long as you don't struggle, it won't deploy the spikes.
posted by Menthol at 6:12 PM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It climbed a tree. That means it can climb your leg.

Sleep well!
posted by nomadicink at 6:31 PM on September 5, 2010


It climbed a tree. That means it can climb your leg.

I'm sure it's purely coincidental that the head of the roboserpent is precisely the correct diameter to accommodate a "device for discreet sperm collection."
posted by Sys Rq at 6:39 PM on September 5, 2010


Great. Another way for bad things to happen.

I'm actually half-serious. This is the first time I've looked at an exciting technological innovation and seen it as a creating more problems than it will solve.

Ignore me, I'm fairly sure these thoughts are being beamed into my head. It's a fucking great robot.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:36 PM on September 5, 2010


Here's how a real snake does it!
They don't do that robot wrappy-crap or twisty-crap. They just climb right up. Their belly scales and the bark texture seems to give them all the grip they need.
posted by hexatron at 7:38 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looking further into climbing snakes, we find brick wall and refrigerator (but with a little help).

So I decided not to look for 'flying snakes', because I don't think they really need a plane...
posted by hexatron at 7:45 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to be afraid, on some distant, childish level, of the robot apocalypse. The inevitable clash of man against his superior creation, but I no longer am. It may happen, but in the end, I assure you, the robots will lose because their existence is predicated upon the same flawed concept that bought them into being, that the resources of earth are endless.

Yeah, unless it occurs to them to invent space travel and become the Borg.
posted by emjaybee at 7:51 PM on September 5, 2010


That's it, I'm re-joining the Frankenstein Destroyers first thing in the morning.

CITIZEN: YOUR ANTI-ROBOT FEELINGS HAVE BEEN NOTED AND ACKNOWLEDGED. PLEASE REMAIN SEATED IN YOUR COMPARTMENT AND AWAIT THE ARRIVAL OF THE FRIENDLY DOCBOTS THAT WILL ASSIST YOU IN YOUR REPROGRAMMING. THE COMPUTER IS YOUR FRIEND.
posted by loquacious at 8:01 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


See also: Breast massage robot.

(Thankfully completely safe for work.)
posted by loquacious at 8:02 PM on September 5, 2010


Go CMU!
Making Humans Obsolete since 1979
posted by Phredward at 8:53 PM on September 5, 2010


It climbed a tree. That means it can climb your leg.

Is that a fully-articulated snake robot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 PM on September 5, 2010


Extension cord? Really?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:34 PM on September 5


Even the EVA from Evangelion needed a giant power cord.
posted by symbioid at 9:20 PM on September 5, 2010


I'm gettin' swallered by a (robotic) boa constrictor.
And I don't like snakes one bit...
posted by symbioid at 9:24 PM on September 5, 2010


One thing I loved about the time that I spent at CMU was never knowing what weird device you might encounter rolling/walking down a hallway or a sidewalk. For a while there was even a robotic blimp that lived in the atrium of Newel-Simon Hall.
posted by octothorpe at 9:49 PM on September 5, 2010


Strap that sucker onto the sock-sorting robot and he'll really have something to go to town on.
posted by Casimir at 10:23 PM on September 5, 2010


Apparently I should go to bed, because I read that as cock-sorting and something to go down on.

At least I'm consistent.
posted by speedo at 10:27 PM on September 5, 2010


Am I the only one who thinks it looks adorable peering around from its perch up there? Aww...
posted by Thoth at 1:20 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The videos of the real snakes climbing show an important difference: the snake has to be adapted to climbing a tree - like a rat snake meaning that it has body shape that can slot into natural grooves in the tree to obtain some purchase. The snake is not limited to climbing a tree of a diameter smaller than its length - it also intelligently scans for the best route by taking its head off the tree and looking around.

Look out for this for "mark 2" I guess.
posted by rongorongo at 2:32 AM on September 6, 2010


"Mark 2" will have retractable legs and wings and will be powered by electromagnetic induction from human CNS electrical activity.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:18 AM on September 6, 2010


Not fish, snake scale.
posted by pracowity at 3:26 AM on September 6, 2010


Holy shit, when they scale these things up, they'll be terrifying (and expensive) weapons of war.
posted by empath at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2010


That poor tree looks like it's been climbed so many times by that thing that a lot of its bark has flaked off even before the ascent in the video.
posted by marble at 10:50 AM on September 6, 2010


Once battery technology matches up with cybernetics and robotics I think we could see a huge shift in the way that our lives are lived. I remember seeing the power armor demoed a few years ago - the only caveat was that it was permanently hooked by extension cord to the grid.

There's so much fucking money in better battery technology. The fact that I never seem to see any advanced in it leads me to believe that it might just not be possible at this point.
posted by codacorolla at 11:12 AM on September 6, 2010


it might just not be possible at this point.

From what I know of it, that is the case. We are at the limit of our knowledge as to batteries. Most of what we know we found out some forty years ago, and the "new" innovations that have come on board in the last decade or so are more instances of other bits of technology being developed that created demand for them and made their production economically sensible. Forty years ago, who needed a battery that cost thirty dollars.

That's what I heard anyway.
posted by Trochanter at 11:42 AM on September 6, 2010


One word for 507's elaborately-contrived rationalization of how the robot apocalypse will end: sunlight.
posted by mistersquid at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2010


There's a reason that all life on earth counts on carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen instead of lead, iron, gold, and manganese. That reason can be seen pretty clearly just by looking at a periodic table if you understand that there are (generally) a greater available quantity of the elements as you move up and left and less of the elements as you move right and down.
Humans use a ton of iron. It's in our blood. Remember? The oceans are full of silicon. (beach sand is mostly silicon dioxide)

There are plenty of abundant metals out there. The reason they're not used (in their elemental form) is that biological processes have no way to work with them. There isn't really any shortage of Iron, aluminum and silicon. No animal ever evolved wheels either, that doesn't mean they're not worthwhile.

Robots might actually require fewer resources then humans. They don't need food, just pure electricity, which can be generated by solar or wind power.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 PM on September 6, 2010


No, Thoth, you were not the only one who found it adorable. Maybe people just need a better soundtrack in order to appreciate the cuteness.
posted by maudlin at 8:55 AM on September 7, 2010


Maybe people just need a better soundtrack in order to appreciate the cuteness.

Voila.
posted by homunculus at 9:24 AM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


THANK YOU! I was trying all kinds of searches for TubeDubber, but couldn't get the name or description right.

I changed it slightly to use the original Spoon audio.
posted by maudlin at 10:11 AM on September 7, 2010


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