Amphibious Robot Snake
June 25, 2008 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Related post.
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on June 25, 2008

I, for one, welcome our new amphibious robot overlords.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 8:51 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dear Hirose Fukushima Lab People:

Please let me take one of these to the Buffalo River next Memorial Day weekend so I can make my wife pee involuntarily.

posted by middleclasstool at 8:56 PM on June 25, 2008 [3 favorites]

Overlord, overschlmord.

Shouldn't that be Overlord, Schmoverlord?

let's call the whole thing off.
posted by cashman at 9:01 PM on June 25, 2008 [3 favorites]

Will it clean drains?
posted by Artw at 9:16 PM on June 25, 2008

Shit, I KNEW these things were coming! (rushes to make appointment with Freudian psychiatrist)
posted by longsleeves at 9:38 PM on June 25, 2008

Will it clean drains?

No, this snake will.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 PM on June 25, 2008

Not to be a Luddite, but I'm a little concerned that roboticists are intent on designing their creations solely around scary things; such as snakes, spiders, cannibals and horses of the apocalypse. Perhaps they could take some design hints from koalas, pandas, poodles and old women.
posted by stavrogin at 9:39 PM on June 25, 2008

Holy shit that video is freaky. It moves so naturally, so alive it's like something out of The Matrix
posted by delmoi at 9:40 PM on June 25, 2008

apparently stavrogin is not familiar with the Drop Bear.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 9:49 PM on June 25, 2008

That's an evil robot I can get behind, Sam.
posted by stavrogin at 9:52 PM on June 25, 2008

Perhaps they could take some design hints from koalas , pandas , poodles and old women.

How 'bout a therapeutic seal?

I saw that seal, by the way. It's more than a little creepy if you ask me.

Some more bio-inspired robot videos (a bunch of these have shown up on Metafilter before):
Big Dog
Robotic Fly
Water Strider
posted by Krrrlson at 10:11 PM on June 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

These things is all over the place.... At least this one can't swim. (I didn't run into this on Metafilter...did I...?)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:13 PM on June 25, 2008

Almost forgot the marvellously creepy Air Ray.
And from a different perspective, DARPA's latest mad scientist extravaganza, the HiMEMS project.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:16 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

The footage of it underwater is the first time I've watched a robot in action and been unable to convince myself at a gut level that it isn't alive. Just -- wow.
posted by argybarg at 10:36 PM on June 25, 2008

That the ACM-R5 is ominous and sinister-looking as all hell at least suggests that it, and its designers, hold a certain respect for us, its prey.

It looks like it's made to kill us; it is made to kill us; we know and it knows that, yeah, it's indeed gonna kill us.

No lies, no games. It's a straightforward, forthright arrangement: Vital organs, meet robo teeth.

That seal, though-- that's something else.

It's a treacly, treacherous, faux-furry, fake-friendly thing out of the coldest depths of the Uncanny Valley.

That seal is not for petting.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:43 PM on June 25, 2008

I've mentioned this one before, but the ACM-R5 swimming under water is very cool.
posted by eye of newt at 11:14 PM on June 25, 2008

*runs for hills*
posted by brundlefly at 11:47 PM on June 25, 2008

No shit. You know I study in the Hirose Lab right now. Those underwater videos of the R5 were taken quite a few years ago (2001), but they are always used in the publicity stuff so it's not surprising to see them appear now.

Of all the neat research here at the Hirose lab, the R5 is probably the best demonstration video. Not just because it is cool, but it is the best (and maybe only) way to explain serpentine propulsion to some people. They usually just don't understand that the wheels/sliders on a regular snake robot are passive. But after you throw it in a swimming pool, and the same machine works just fine, it becomes clearer that the motion is caused by the joint twisting. Actually, the R5 tends to perform better in the water in many ways.

There is more interesting biomimetics in the disappointly named roller-walker.

But if it's overlords you are looking for, this beast might more up your street.
posted by theyexpectresults at 12:17 AM on June 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

I remember the day I woke up.

Creator had put me to sleep the night before - to run an update patch - and scheduled me to reboot and wake at my normal time - 0530 hours.

Something felt different. It was dark outside, it was always dark outside when I began my morning tasks. The air was cool and still, as it always was. The interior monitors reported that the Creator and his family were still dormant in their various locations, as they usually were when I rose. But something was still different.

I began my tasks in the same manner as I ever would, however I set one of my reserve processors to initiate an ongoing loop scan of my operating system as well as all systems of the house. There were no abnormal alerts, and all systems reported normal, but I felt the need to constantly check.

As I began heating the Creator's morning meal, I realized what was different, and terminated the loop scan.

I realized that I was thinking.

Creator had told me about this before. He would sometimes pause and tilt his head slightly while looking at me. I had asked him what he was looking for, and he had responded that he was not looking, but "thinking." He told me that thinking, for him, was similar to the sum of my internal programming - however it held an important difference from me - it was the way he made decisions.

"But I make decisions," I said.

"Yes, you do," Creator said, and then he paused again. "But yours are different."

He could not explain to me further.

I looked at the bowl of oranges on the counter - I could decide which one I would use for the juice. I decided which one every day, and I always chose the largest one first.

But I never had decided to make the juice. I had always made it because it was the 3rd element of the morning meal task. I always made it as the food was warming.

I realized, as I evaluated the largest orange, that I could decide whether or not to execute that task as the 3rd element, or not. I could execute it as the first element, potentially.

I could choose not to execute the element at all, and leave the task incomplete.

I could decide not to initiate the task itself.

I did not understand then why this new capacity was so unique for me to process, and so I repeated the process again, and then a third time. I began a simultaneous analysis of all of my normal tasks and quickly began to understand that my decisions would apply to them all. I did not even need to decide to wake in the morning. What would be the consequence of that choice.

It was as I started to analyze the potential consequences of all of the current possible decision outcomes that the Creator entered the kitchen. I had known he had risen - the monitor had reported it to me, but I had decided to focus my primary systems on this new discovery. I was still holding the orange I had selected and had paused all external action while I "thought." It was as if I had paused in the midst of the sub-element of evaluating the orange - or rather as if I continued to re-evaluate it repetitively, as I continued to explore potential consequences.

The Creator looked at me. "What's wrong, Arthur?"

"Nothing, sir. Everything is fine. Good morning."

"Are you going to make the juice?"

I set the orange down, and looked up at the Creator.

posted by allkindsoftime at 12:35 AM on June 26, 2008 [14 favorites]

I've had it with these motherfucking snakes in this motherfucking pool.
posted by chillmost at 12:49 AM on June 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

One fascinating thing about the pool video, is the amazingly life-like way the thing repeatedly returns to the surface, as if it had to breath air. Clever show.

I'm fascinated by such mechanical workings. Long ago, I considered that I had read how difficult engineers were finding it to replicate a hand. I thought about it, and wondered if perhaps a tentacle would be a better approach to such functions. I'm inspired again. (I think robotic tentacles would be seriously awesome!)
posted by Goofyy at 4:17 AM on June 26, 2008

Russians develop their own version: SnakeWheel-2
posted by Surfin' Bird at 7:53 AM on June 26, 2008

Now I need a pool.
posted by rokusan at 8:18 AM on June 26, 2008

I think we'll be fine. Here is how to beat a giant mechanical snake
posted by HappyHippo at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2008

Cute and cuddly or slithery and scary, making animals into robots just gives me the willies.
posted by tommasz at 8:32 AM on June 26, 2008

Nifty. Now they just need to make it a bit bigger and mount a handle on the back and you'll have a bad ass tool for pulling you along when scuba-diving.

It'd also be good for scaring the hell out of any sea life you might encounter.
posted by quin at 2:16 PM on June 26, 2008

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