Researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have received a U.S. National Science Foundation grant to develop autonomous snake-like robots that can navigate through debris following a disaster and send images and information to search-and-rescue teams.
The project's goal is to create a robot with the autonomy to navigate through its environment without close supervision.
"In search-and-rescue scenarios, you'd want a robot you can rely on to go into areas inaccessible by humans and provide critical information about conditions there and about who needs to be rescued first," says WPI professor Jie Fu.
The study consists of three prongs--mobility, low-level motion-capture algorithms based on embedded sensory feedback, and high-level planning algorithms. The researchers are working on all three areas to create "soft" robots from silicone rubber that can crawl in a serpentine or side-winding motion.
Low-level algorithms are focused on controlling the robot's motion, while high-level algorithms are concentrated on decision-making and autonomy.
From Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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