Should every nuclear plant have snake robots?

(Credit: CMU Biorobotics Lab)

We’ve all seen “Snakes on a Plane.” OK, I haven’t and don’t plan to. But anyway, picture this: snake robots in a nuclear plant. Can you hear that Hollywood option in the pipe?

Yessir, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University are convinced that sending snake-like robots slithering through nuclear power plants is a good idea. They’ve even tested the concept at a plant in Austria and it may help inspectors.

With a video camera and an LED light on its head, the reptilian machine was able to wriggle into pipes, valves, and vessels, relaying footage that can be used to check for hazardous wear and damage in pipes that are contaminated and hard to access.

While the multi-joined, modular snake-bot corkscrewed through the pipes, the footage it sent back was automatically corrected so that it was always aligned with gravity.

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The farthest the robot went into a pipe was 60 feet. Check out the test in the video below taken at Austri… [Read more]

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