Posted by: robotnews | March 21, 2006

Snake-Like Robot – KOHGA

U0205332 Yang Shaohua

The following news comes from Daily Times (Monday, September 22, 2003), which introduce a snake-like rescue robot – KOHGA, invented by japanese reseachers. It could be used for many complex environment where human being can not reach easily or safely. Actually, a similar snake-like robot was also used in looking for the survival after the attack on New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11th,2001.

One technical paper named “Evaluation of Snake-like Rescue Robot – KOHGA for Usability of Remote Control” is also uploaded on IVLE for further reading.

TOKYO: Researchers in quake-prone Japan have developed snake-like robots capable of literally worming their way through the rubble of earthquake-destroyed houses to find trapped survivors.
A prototype dubbed Kohga — named after one of the two legendary schools of ninja spycraft — has been developed by Fumitoshi Matsuno, a professor at Tokyo’s University of Electro-Communications’ Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Systems.
Snake-like robots “can go into narrow places and their long and thin bodies can disperse the weight to prevent a secondary collapse of wrecked structures,” Matsuno said. The two-metre (6.6-foot) long robot is propelled by ridged belts like tank tracks. “The survival rate of trapped people is said to plunge after 72 hours, and rescue operations are a race against time,” Matsuno said. Kohga can be dismantled into about 10 parts for transport to disaster sites. “It is very important that rescue robots can be transported easily,” Matsuno said.
Research in many Japanese universities is geared towards earthquake rescue and recovery due to the archipelago’s vulnerability to large tremors. The most recent, a huge earthquake that struck the western city of Kobe in January 1995, killed more than 6,000 people. Most died of exposure of asphyxiation after being trapped under rubble.
The radio-controlled Kohga, which is equipped with a built-in camera for remote monitoring, is battery powered or can be fitted with a power cable in situations where the radio signals could interfere with other rescue services.
Another snake robot, Moira, was developed by Kyoto University systems science associate professor Koichi Osuka. Its name is an acronym of “mobile inspection robot for rescue activity” but is also that of the Greek goddess of fate.
Moira’s body has two sets of caterpillar tracks on either side of its sections that push it thorugh rubble. “The Moira can move more powerfully if it pushes against rubble from the side,” Osuka said.
The robot is 1.4-metres long and weighs 18 kilogrammes (39.6 pounds). “Snake-shaped robots are especially suited to rescue operations in Japan or other Asian countries since wooden structures leave little space to go through when they collapse, unlike buildings made of stone or mud,” he said.
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Responses

  1. u0205119, Ek Li Ling
    In a crucial situation as looking for survivors under rubble, the snake-like rescue robot does come in very handy. However, correct me if I am wrong, it seems that this snake-like robot is radio-controlled by humans, monitoring it from a built-in camera and does not have any artificial intelligence of its own. Please comment. Also, which section of the ivle can I find the paper that you included?

  2. u0204714 Chan Hongjiang
    There is another snake-like robot I have read about that may perhaps be a closer fit to DARS. It is actually a collection of small circular independent robots that have the swarm intelligence capability of attaching themselves together in a line and form something like a snake such that they can conquer obstacles together. Examples of obstacles they can clear in this manner include gaps in the ground and trees (which they climb by coiling around the tree trunk, like a snake).
    Regrettably, I am unable to reproduce the source or any other information on this robot. If anyone else has information on something similar please do share it 🙂

  3. U0204912 Lin Zhiqiang

    This snake-like robot remains me of the Singapore Technologies developed FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Areas) Ball and specially designed guns to see around walls. This can be used for defense purpose especially in urban warfare to see around walls or in hostage situation to slip through holes to spy on the enemy. This application will help save lives as soldiers need not endangered themselves to gather intellgence on the enemy.

  4. If I’m not wrong (saw it on TV last night), you guys might be interested to know that a snake-like robot won First Prize in the Singapore Robotics Games yesterday..

  5. u0206584, Vidhya Ganesan
    For all you snakebot lovers, I found this website that has articles on an array of snake-like robots used for various applications:
    http://www.ais.fraunhofer.de/~worst/snake-collection.htm

  6. U0300637 Choo Peng Yeow

    I think that the snake robots are cool!!! And I believe that it must be very complicated to program the software running these robots. Many considerations must be taken into account and there must be many sensors involved.

    I have also come across a snake robot developed in Carnegie Mellon University by Prof. Ben Brown. His snake robot or rather Millibot Train as he calls it, is really cool! Take a look at the article yourself – http://octopus.ius.cs.cmu.edu/~hbb/Millibot/IEEEMillibotTrains.pdf. The snake robot could roll up into a circle, detach itself and climb up a step several times higher than itself.

  7. U0205332, Yang Shaohua

    Regarding to the thesis mentioned, I uploaded this file under EE4306/project/Exploration/Porject Folder, it was separated into 3 files, because of the large size.

    for other groups who can not visit this folder,I just upload it online, here is the link: http://s25.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3HY6FYN5Y69QB3GSQG8YR0XA7A

    About the Artifical Intelligence used in KOHGA,I am not sure what kind of ‘AI’ is AI. To accomplish the task of ‘searching for victims under the collapsed buildings’, the important feature of Robot is not really high-tect AI – like thinking,judging completely indepedently, but its ‘the mobility and control method at some
    particular environments’, which is introduced in above thesis. Different units used in Kohga could cooperate each other,and walk, climb depend on different enviorments to reach the destination under the order of controller , I think,it is the kind of AI itself. It is not just the toys.

  8. sorry,the complete link is http://s25.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=
    3HY6FYN5Y69QB3GSQG8YR0XA7A

  9. This post has been removed by the author.

  10. U0308030 PHUNG DUC KIEN

    Assume that the snake robot has IA, how can it find a person under collapse ? I think it will try to differentiate a human by infra-red sensor, by interpreting the feedback spectrum. It seems like an open-ended problem for researchers since searching in a confined space is indeed challenging.

    BTW, ECE students also have their own snake robot.


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