NASA is always working on its next technological advancement to help with the exploration of space. One of the advancements currently on their list of achievements is the Snakebot. These were created to look and move like the biological creature thus where it derives its name.
The shape of them and their ability to move like a snake gives these robots advantages over many other robotic inventions as it can climb over various obstacles and move through the soil. They can move forwards and backwards, climb out of holes that may be in their way, and complete tasks that other shaped robots would never be able to do.
The Composition of the Snakebot
The Snakebot is made from 30 modules that are identical. These modules are linked to one another similar to that of a chain. The spine in the center of the robot acts as the pathway for communication between all of the modules. Each module has a separate computer-like structure designed into it for them to take instructions from the central computer. All of these computers are connected to one another through a network of wires. This section takes the responsibility for commands being given and received for each module resulting in the whole body being able to perform the task.
The small computers on each module are considered as microcontrollers. They are responsible for the control of each module and for interpreting each of the commands that is being sent from the central computer. These microcontrollers are all connected through the wiring network to sensors.
There are extra sensors added to the design of the Snakebot which makes the robots more adaptable to the environment. They allow the robot to learn from its experiences within that environment and respond to any changes that may occur.
The movements of the various parts on the Snakebot are provided by two servomotors. The main processor and in some ways, the module computer, control the servomotors. There are wheels added to the structure to act as the scales do on the biological snake. These make for a smooth gliding motion. There is also a camera added to take videos and still shots.
The Benefits of Using Snakebots
These robots are much lighter than other robotics because there are fewer parts used. This is better for taking it to space and for making repairs if needed.
When it comes to making repairs, other than having fewer parts, the fact that it has a module design also makes them better for maintaining them. This as a result saves time and money.
The Purpose of Snakebots
NASA wants to create better and more efficient equipment to send to space for their exploration purposes. These Snakebots will take the place of other more cumbersome equipment to take pictures or videos of Mars. The fact that it can move like it does means that this robot can get into smaller and more dangerous places that other robots or machines could never reach. It is a way to discover more about other planets.
Making discoveries is a major part of NASA and by employing these Snakebots, their hope is to find out more than ever before about the worlds outside of ours.