Volume 23 Issue 4/5- Publication Date: 1 April-May 2004
Special Issue on the 8th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER ’02)
Snakes and Strings: New Robotic Components for Rescue Operations
S. Hirose and E.F. Fukushima Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Ookayama Meguro-ku, Japan

The International Rescue System Institute has been established in Japan to promote research and development of key technologies for the realization of practical search-and-rescue robots, anticipating future large-scale earthquakes and other catastrophic disasters. In this paper we propose a new paradigm called “snakes and strings”, for developing practical mobile robot systems that may be useful in such situations. “Snakes” stands for snake-like robots, which can skillfully move among the debris of the collapsed buildings. “Strings”, on the other hand, means robotic systems using strings or tethers, such as proposed in the “hyper-tether” research. Tethers can continuously supply energy, accomplish reliable communication links, and also exhibit high traction force. In this paper we present many new mechanical implementations of snake-like robots developed in our laboratory, and we also explain in detail the new paradigm.

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