Snake Robots: Are They Really Helpful?

We all know what robots basically are and what are their functions and applications. Well, robots are machines that resemble human beings and are able to imitate human movements and functions automatically. Robots have various applications in the field of medicine, for finding objects underwater and to explore other plants, etc. But have you ever heard of snake robots? The answer would be of course not, because we have always envisioned the human form whenever we hear the name ‘Robot’.

WHAT IS A SNAKE ROBOT? A snake robot is a biomorphic hyper-redundant robot that resembles a biological snake. It is capable to squeeze into spaces that their human-form, mechanical other robots, and even we humans haven’t been able to explore.

It comes in many shapes and sizes, from the four stories long, earthquake snake robot to a medical snake robot that is thin enough to move around organs in a human chest cavity. Basically, there are two qualities that the snake robots share. One of them is, their small cross-section to length ratio that allows them to move into, and manoeuvre through, tight spaces while the other one is their ability to change the shape of their body allowing them to perform a wide range of functions, such as climbing stairs or tree trunks. Here’s a small video to show how this robot actually looks like!

Courtesy: cmurobotics

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Snake robots are basically modular in nature i.e. it is made up of independent parts or modules that are connected to each other and the controlling head through links. The robot follows a principle called a ‘Master-Slave principle’ where the head is a master and it controls all the other modules. Additionally, many snake robots are constructed by chaining together a number of independent links. This severance makes them resilient to failure because they can continue to function even if parts of their bodies are destroyed.


There are various abilities and applications of snake robots. Snake robots due to their slender bodies fit into small spaces. Their bodies have various degrees of freedom. Their modular structure can help in many ways such as

  • Searching through pipes
  • Climbing trees and locating
  • Used as spy cameras
  • Crawling through small creeks in the field of archaeology
  • Diving deep in oceans
  • In the field of agriculture
  • For aiding in search and rescue efforts
  • Assisting in minimally-invasive surgery
  • For inspection of power plants
  • And much much more

By looking into the unlimited applications that snake robots have, we can conclude that these snake robots are really helpful and can add great value to the field of robotics and technology.