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13th October 2018

A ladder-climbing robotic snake

At the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) held in Madrid earlier this month, researchers presented a flexible snake-like robot that is able to climb ladders. The project was a collaboration between Kyoto University and the University of Electro-Communications in Japan.

A newly developed gait allows the robot snake to bend and twist its smooth body to create a series of connected shapes, which slowly but securely wrap around each rung as it climbs upwards. This breakthrough could be helpful in disaster recovery situations – enabling rescuers to access damaged buildings and other infrastructure more easily, navigating obstacles or terrain that even human-like robots might have trouble with. The snake is able to climb ladders that are both inclined and fully vertical.

The team's paper includes the following abstract:

"This paper presents a method that allows a snake robot to climb a ladder. We propose a ladder climbing method for a snake robot that has a smooth surface shape. We design a novel gait for the snake using a gait design method that configures the target form of the snake robot by connecting simple shapes. The climbing motion is executed via shift control and the corresponding motion required to catch the next step on the ladder. In addition, we developed a snake robot that has a smooth exterior body surface through construction of pectinate-shaped parts of the links. We demonstrated the effectiveness of both the proposed gait and the design of the snake robot experimentally."




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