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Scientists create ladder-climbing robot snake

Intelligent Robots and Systems robot snake

With every new innovation in the world of robotics, it feels as though they become a little less uncanny, and the idea of society being overthrown by murderous androids feels more and more remote. 

At least it did - until we saw the horrifying video of a robotic snake climbing up a ladder.

Created by Kyoto University and the University of Electro-Communications, the clambering robotic reptile was unveiled at the 2018 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Madrid. 

You can see it in action below:

Although the snake's jerky movements look a little scary, the way it loops itself around each rung and quickly scales the ladder could have real-life applications - and  even save lives. 

The team behind the pioneering robot has envisioned using it to access areas that humans cannot - particularly useful in disaster situations where buildings have collapsed - perhaps even seeking out survivors and assessing safe ways for emergency services to enter.

This isn't the first time a snake has been used as inspiration in the robotics world - in 2016 a robotic sea snake was developed by Norwegian companies Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil, as well as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, with a mind to inspect and clean underwater infrastructure. 

Whether the ladder-climbing robot will become a common way of responding to disasters remains to be seen, but what's clear is that 'Snakes and Ladders' will never be the same. 

Via Cnet

Olivia is TechRadar's Audio & Music Editor, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. Based in TechRadar's London offices, she previously worked in the music industry for a few years before finding her calling in journalism. In her spare time Olivia loves playing retro video games, hanging with her cat Ethel and golden retriever Dora, and bingeing on Netflix.