Vine-Like Rescuer Robot

When emergency situations occur, help is needed in the search for victims. The earlier this help arrives, the more people will be saved. Specialists from Stanford came up with a universal assistant. The robot resembles a snake and can deftly, quickly and flexibly overcome obstacles. It has a camera and can move loads and even deliver water to those who are trapped.

The novelty consists of the soft sealed plastic, with a camera attached to it on one side and a pump on another side. When it turns on, the robot begins to move, increasing in length (up to 72 meters) and shooting the video on its way. The movements of the serpentine device are similar to the behavior of plants. The device passes the turns by inflating one side more than the other one. The movement direction is adjustable, but the robot itself can decide where it is better to crawl.

Specialists from Stanford University held a real test for their offspring. The robot moved through adhesive fasteners, glue, and dense rows of nails; it climbed the ice wall, squeezed into the gap, much smaller than its diameter, and even lifted the 70 kg suitcase left on its way. Of course, the device had damages, such as punctures, but they did not affect its functionality. The test showed that the unusual robot could be useful not only while rescuing victims, but also while eliminating the consequences of a catastrophe or an emergency situation, eliminating accidents in urban communication systems, and also during surgical operations.

Researchers used inexpensive plastic to create a prototype. When all the verification work is completed, the scientists will use a stronger material, for example, Kevlar, to create the next model. Now, the robot is filled with air, but the team plans to use liquid. This will help in extinguishing fires or providing water to those who need it under the rubble.