Imagine you are swimming, and you see an elongated, black, mechanical body slithering through. With its red glowing eyes, it is approaching towards you. Well, you don’t need to imagine anymore because you might just see one of these snake robots for real – let’s hope not though!
So, what’s the purpose of placing these not-so-pretty snake robots in water? The answer is simple – maintenance of underwater equipment and surveillance. The Norwegian underwater robotics company, called Eelume, came up with this efficient yet optimal sized robot i.e. the snake robot. Taking inspiration from snake’s body shape and operating mechanism, Eelume, the mechanical snake is equipped it with sideboard motors as well as cameras. Eelume, partnered with Norwegian companies Statoil and Kongsberg Maritime to fast-track production of these serpentine machines. These machines will ideally live on the seabed and will clean and invigilate the underwater equipment regardless of the atmospheric conditions above the surface of the water. Moreover, the snake robots will also have the ability to tighten valves with their clamp-kind-of mouths.
It was only until last year, that Eelume had a prototype ready which slithered through obstacles in a testing tank, and within a short time period, the company was able to release its first ever video of the robot functioning in real ocean water. They accomplished this at PREZIOSO Linjebygg Subsea Test Center in Trondheimsfjord, Norway. The snake robots look like mini submarines as they move through water with multiple lights and cameras at the front. The only difference between a snake and this robot is that the robot has a modular structure which allows users to attach tools to the front end, and customize the number of motors and cameras. Moreover, the user can also change the configuration of this robot for different functions by varying the length.
Well, we are moving towards a world full of robots so I guess underwater snake-looking robots shouldn’t be much of a surprise anymore!