comScore Carnegie Mellon Robot Snake Learns to Strangle | The Mary Sue

Robot Snake Comes With Auto-Strangle Feature, Because What Could Go Wrong?


Look, I’m a pretty lazy guy, and as such, I’m as in favor of teaching robots to do pretty much anything. If a robot can wash my dishes, great. If a robot can hang out with my friends for me while I play video games, honestly, that’s awesome. But when you teach a snake robot to automatically constrict around whatever it comes in contact with — a tree branch, say, or your neck — you’ve gone too far. That way madness lies.

The biorobotics team at Carnegie Mellon University has taught their robotic snake all sorts of neat tricks like climbing trees and following targets, but the latest one is just terrifying. By adjusting the accelerometers inside the snake, the team has made it able to tell when it hits an object, like a light pole in the video below, and then immediately constrict around that object to fasten itself in place. Throw it at an object, and it will wrap itself around it. That makes it easier for the snake to get into reconnaissance positions and stay there, or, y’know, choke the ever-loving hell out of whatever poor, gasping soul’s neck it has been affixed to. Either works, and they’re both very good things for a robot snake to be able to do, as long as you’re not attached to the idea of humans running the planet for very long.

We can only hope that CMU’s biorobotics team is working on some sort of secret weapon to provide a check to the robot snakes that will one day murder us all if given the chance. Dare we hope for a robotic honey badger?

(via CMU Biorobotics)

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