Robot snakes are nothing new, and although there are quite a few impressive models out there already, Engadget.com reported yesterday on the ACM-R5, an amphibious robosnake that out-snakes the rest of them. At a little over 6 feet long and weighing roughly 18 pounds, the ACM-R5 expertly mimics the movement of its biological counterpart both on land and in water. TechEBlog.com has an excellent video showing the ACM-R5 swimming and crawling, as well some pretty detailed shots illustrating its inner workings. The narration is in Japanese, but the footage is compelling regardless.
Powered by a 30-minute lithium ion battery, the ACM-R5’s brain is a 32-bit microprocessor which manages an intricate sensor system tracking among other things attitude and torque. Vision is provided by a small camera in its head while the ACM-R5’s movement is controlled via wireless remote.
Like many other snake-inspired robots, the ACM-R5 was developed with the goal of aiding earthquake victims and others trapped in collapsed buildings and tight spaces. Besides disaster relief, its creators envision other benign applications for it including laying underground optical fiber. I, however, can’t help but think as I watch the ACM-R5 glide effortlessly through the water poking its head above the surface from time to time to look around that the Sentinels from the Matrix can’t be too far behind.