Cave-Exploring Snake Robot Gets Inspiration From Sidewinders

Three years ago, a robotic snake called Elizabeth slithered into Egyptian caves to search for long-hidden ships.

The caves lie on Egypt’s east coast, and contained the dismantled remnants of vessels that the Egyptians used to sail the Red Sea. They were discovered about a decade ago and some have surrendered their secrets with relative ease. Others, however, are too dangerous and unstable for people to explore.

Enter Elizabeth. The serpentine robot, built by Howie Choset at Carnegie Mellon University and named after his wife*, was designed to explore spaces that humans cannot. She can slide over rough terrain, slink through tight cracks, and manoeuvre around ...

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