idf snake 248.63 ch 2.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A robot snake, capable of recording video and sound on the battlefield, is on the way to join the the IDF's hi-tech arsenal.
According to a Channel 2 report - click here to watch the clip - the spying robot, which is about two meters long and covered in military camouflage, mimics the movements and appearance of real snakes, slithering around through caves, tunnels, cracks and buildings, while at the same time sending images and sound back to a soldier who controls the device through a laptop computer.
Able to bend its joints so well that it can squeeze through very tight spaces, the new device will be used to find people buried under collapsed buildings. The snake is also able to arch its body, allowing it to see over obstacles through its head camera.
Researchers studied the movements of live snakes in order to create the most natural and realistic robotic version.
The snake's cost has yet to be determined, as it is still being developed; however, according to Channel 2, the IDF plans to provide combat units with these devices.
Besides recording multimedia, the snake may also be used to carry explosives.
The Defense Ministry, with experts from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, based their intelligence-gathering robot on a previous project of Ben-Gurion University, which created a slew of robotic animals with special abilities.
Eight months ago, researchers at Ben-Gurion University reported they had developed "robot snakes" capable of navigating through pipes and narrow openings.
The Ben-Gurion report also detailed other robot animals, including, a cat that climbs walls using its claws, and a "dog-droid" that responds to the human movements.
The idea of serpent-like robots is nothing new in the world of technology. Shigeo Hirose, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been working on "serpent robots" since the 1970s.
Hirose's ACM-R5 robot, which had the ability to glide through water, unlike the IDF version, debuted in the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan.
AP contributed to this report.