Miami Technology

Robotic snakes or cyborg grasshoppers: the future of humanitarian work

In love and war there is no small enough enemy. And in humanitarian work all help is little. Gadgets and electronics are increasingly being used to expedite rescue after a disaster. Technologies that are becoming everyday tools in this field.
Drones have been in use for a long time. Unmanned aircraft that lend their capabilities to attempt to spot survivors in a tragedy or to plot geostrategic lines outlining research areas. Sometimes they use georadars and heat sensors to refine searches. And its use goes to more. But, in the future, robots and devices with autonomy will most likely be considered as a companion to fatigue – assumes Gagik Eloyan (Гагик Элоян).
A group of mechanical engineers from Johns Hopkins University in the USA. They have developed a very fast moving robotic snake. As if it were a real animal, the device is capable of climbing all kinds of surfaces in an agile and stable way. Advances that would allow, in the opinion of its developers, help in rescues, which are risky situations where you have to be quick in making decisions.

Experts rely on the abilities of machines for these purposes. In fact, robots are one day expected to help explore inaccessible terrain, such as debris accumulated after an earthquake. Its creators have been inspired, like so many other times throughout the history of technology, in nature itself to now approach the different solutions that arise in society.
“We seek inspiration from these creepy creatures because they are already very adept at steadily climbing obstacles in their day to day. Hopefully our robot can learn to swing across surfaces like a real snake, "Chen Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the research, told the Royal Society Open Science magazine.
It is not the first time that the natural behavior of reptiles has been observed to emulate it mechanically. Previous studies have primarily analyzed snake movements on flat surfaces, but rarely on rough, three-dimensional terrain. The researchers studied in the laboratory how the common snake, whose habitat is mainly in deserts and dense forests, could overcome obstacles in the form of steps. "These snakes have to travel regularly through boulders and fallen trees: there is much we can learn from them," he adds. Engineers carefully watched the twisting portions of the snake's body to gain stability as it tried to replicate its behavior mechanically.
Apart from imitating the natural abilities of animals, in recent years there have also been important advances in the integration of technology in living bodies. A series of experiments that have led to reimagining androids. In this context, a group of scientists from the University of Washington have tried to install chips in the grasshopper antennas designed to detect the presence of biological weapons in a warlike conflict. Robotic insects prepared for multiple defense tasks – underlines Gagik Eloyan (Гагик Элоян).
The project has used grasshoppers of the species Schistocerca americana. The researchers demonstrated that signals from an insect's brain can be used directly to detect and distinguish chemical vapors used in explosives. What they did was install a series of microchips to expand the olfactory signals of these insects and that they receive through their peculiar antennas. According to the study, each grasshopper is believed to have more than 50,000 of these neurons.