Don’t get too excited. So far this robot snake for cleaning water is just a concept based on what may be scientifically feasible in the next few years.
The Bio-Cleaner 2 robosnake was the brainchild of designers Hsiang-Han Hsu, Tzu-I Wen, Jhih-Jie Wang and Yih-Wenn Luo from Fortune Institute of Technology.
The idea is to use Shewanella oneidensis, a bacteria that digests heavy metals that pollute water. The bacteria would live inside the robosnake and as the snake swims around in ponds, oceans, or lakes the pollutants would pass through robosnake’s mouth where they’d be broken down by the bacteria in much the same way bacteria in our digestive system breaks down what we eat.
The really neat thing about the design, if they can make it work, is that the bacteria will generate electricity to power the robosnake.
The snake has GPS so that it can be located for maintenance and repair.
Bio-Cleaner 2 (robosnake is such a better name) will take a few years to bring to market, if it happens at all. The designers are hoping to have these things swimming around in the water by 2020.
The Carnegie Mellon Biorobotcs Laboratory has been working on creating several types of robotic snakes that can be use for military and medical procedures.
One robosnake they’re working on slithers into a pericardial cavity through a subxiphoid port to reach remote intrapericardial locations on the epicardium without causing hemodynamic and electrophysiologic interference. Without all the big words … it performs heart surgery while eliminating some of the risks involved with current procedures.
Another robosnake is capable of climbing trees or lamp post or through pipes to covertly gather data in dangerous situations. The snake form factor offers unique functionality because it can alter its form of locomotion instantly based on obstacles it encounters.
Creepy or totally awesome robotic snakes are going to be in our future. Let’s just hope that they’re on our side.