Reptilian Robots for Disaster Response Efforts

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A pair of reptilian robots originally built for a documentary on the BBC in 2016 are to be used for disaster efforts and possibly to study marine life. The robots were built by three roboticists from Switzerland.

The three scientists published a paper in the journal Science Robotics in which they described how the robots were made, their capabilities and other uses to which they might be put. Then the BC contacted the three and asked them to build a pair of reptilian robots; one that would look like a crocodile and another that would look like a monitor lizard, for filming a nature documentary.

The team then built SpyCroc and SpyLizard, two robots that could walk along riverbanks and swim in the river, covered in “skins” that allowed them to blend in with natural wildlife. The footage they captured was indeed used by the BBC to make the documentary film “Spy in the Wild.”

According to Techxplore, the researchers have spent the last few years adding improvements to the robots and are now suggesting that they not only be used to study other animals in the wild but also to assist in disaster response efforts. Such improvements include making the robots look more like their biological counterparts, improving their mobility, adapting their power system to allow them to run for longer periods of time and to remain deployed for long-duration studies.

These changes have reportedly made the robots more useful as monitoring tools and could possibly be used during disaster assistance efforts such as floods and fires and aid in assessing the degree of danger to front-line rescue workers.

These improvements also mean the robots could be used to learn more about how animals behave both when alone and when interacting with other animals when humans are not around.

This information was provided by Techxplore.