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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Robotic snake could be useful in hazardous disaster zones

Posted on 17th January 2015 at 19:36pm

British company OC Robotics has recently created a new robotic snake arm that would be incredibly useful in disaster zones.

The robotic snake arm, designed by OC Robotics, could be used in disaster zones considered too dangerous for first responders (all photos and video courtesy OC Robotics)

The company specialises in designing robots to perform remote handling, operating in confined and hazardous spaces. It has delivered robots to many industries, including nuclear, aerospace, medical and security.

The features of the snake robot make it perfect for exploring areas that are inaccessible or too dangerous for first responders.

The robot can be finely programmed and has a wide range of motion, allowing it to be carefully manoeuvred on precariously balanced debris. It can be retracted along the same path without disturbing the environment or dislodging debris – another important feature when exploring unstable ground – and has an arm bend greater than 225 degrees. It also has an interchangeable head that can hold a camera, or even a two-way speaker/microphone.

The snake robot could allow responders to explore areas that are difficult to reach – such as collapsed buildings—to assess the situation and locate trapped victims. With a two-way speaker/microphone, responders would also be able to use the snake to communicate with trapped victims to determine their location and status.

This robotic snake arm is still new and largely untested in disaster-affected areas, but its applications could be beneficial for disaster response

Editors: Megan Mantaro and Ian Portelli

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