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Snake-like robot that can climb stairs unveiled at university in Tokyo

A snake-like robot which can go up and down stairs is seen here at The University of Electro-Communications in the city of Chofu in Tokyo, on April 4, 2017. (Mainichi)

A snake-like robot that is capable of scaling and descending steep steps has been developed by a group that includes The University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo, it has been learned.

    The development is promising because it is expected that the robot will be able to navigate its way smoothly through piles of rubble at disaster sites.

    At a public unveiling at UEC on April 4, the climbing skills of the robot were demonstrated to onlookers, with the claim that it can overcome the highest inclines in the world, compared to any other robot. Specifically, it has been stated that the device is able to climb steps that are 1 meter high.

    The machine is about 1.7 meters long, and weighs approximately 9 kilograms. The robot makes use of 17 joints in its main body as well as nine sets of wheels to move up and down stairs like a snake, and it also carries a sensor that is able to gauge inclines and the distances relating to steps and the ground. It can be operated with a wireless remote control and its ability to move in accordance with its front part makes it easy to use.

    UEC associate professor Motoyasu Tanaka, who was involved in the development of the robot, states, "We do not want to stop at making something that copies the movements of living things. We want to go one step further and create a robot that can surpass natural movements."

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