12:00 AM, June 9, 2009
Robotic snake for surveillance, suicide mission developed in Israel
A snake that can slither along the ground, use its “eye” to snap up pictures and video of the enemy and beam it back to its controller has been developed by the Israeli military, according to reports in the Israeli media. The “robotic snake”, as the reports said can also be used in “suicide” missions by carrying a small payload and blowing itself up when in close proximity of the enemy. The channel 2 news on Israeli TV has broadcast a short clip of the robotic snake whose skin resembles army fatigues, slithering along the ground with its lone eye beaming back pictures of the scene to its controller sitting before a TV monitor. The mechanism by which it moves along the ground, its propulsion system, the range between the snake and its controller and the type of obstacles it can clear are not known at this stage. It is also not known if the Israeli military developed the robotic snake on its own or if there is any industrial partnership in it. However, the video clip shows the snake to be about 2 meters in length, with a circumference about the size of a fully grown python and comfortably crawling on what resembled jungle ground with stones and undergrowth. In one clip, the snake is shown crawling between two rocks just as a real snake would. The channel video shows the snake slithering into caves, tunnels, cracks and buildings and broadcasting pictures and sound back to a soldier controlling it with a laptop computer. The snake’s body was slithering in different directions with its head popping up on ground, and up to 2 or 3 feet above with its eye pointing directly ahead. It was shown turning its head in different directions in response to sound. The report said that said military researchers studied real snakes to copy their movements. The robotic snake is said to be in an experimental stage with the Israeli Defence Forces planning to deploy the snake with its combat units. It may be assumed that by the time the snake is ready for battle, its resemblance to a real snake will improve further as also its image and sound gathering capabilities.