The Austrian nuclear power plant of Zwentendorf is a fine test platform for robots and other similar technologies. The station was constructed in the 1970th years, but never included. Thus, in premises of station there are no radiation sources, toxic elements and other things causing fear. But the designs of station bound by pipes of various diameter, and remained untouched, giving opportunity to researchers to carry out comprehensive tests of the snake robot. From the moment of accident at Japanese nuclear station Fukushima, there was developeda number of robots which had to assist in diagnostics of damages and elimination of consequences of accident. However, components of nuclear stations are entangled by many kilometers of pipelines of various diameter. It isn’t possible to examine components within nuclear stations with help of the developed robots . Only the robot snake is capable to solve this problem. The robot snake can move in pipes, it has the diameter of 15 centimeters, LED light sources and high-quality cameras.
Engineers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed the flexible pneumatic robot moving at the expense of bends of “body”, like a snake. The snake robot consists of four independently moving segments. On the opposite sides of the segments are located the air cameras, which are created from elastic polymer and are capable to increase considerably in a size at a rating. Air supply in cameras is carried out with help of the valves located on a joint of segments. Process of movement of the device operates the built-in microcomputer. The maximum speed of the snake robots makes only 19 millimeters a second. In the future authors of development plan to increase this speed at the expense of a covering of inflatable cameras scales from which the robot will be able to make a start. In that case the mechanical supports, which are present at a prototype, become unnecessary. The snake robot is not the first prototype of the moving inflatable device.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently created snake-like robot capable of swimming through granular material.