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"Fully Functional Biorobots"

Do you know about the new Biorobotics and Biometrics lab in Israel?
Founded in 2006 byDr. Alon Wolf, BRML, is a new lab in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The scope of work done in the BRML provides the framework for fundamental theories in kinematics and mechanism design with applications in Biomechanics, medical robotics and hyper Redundant mechanisms (snake robots)

Yes, that's right: SNAKE ROBOTS! They're combining robotics, 3D printing and millennia of snake motion evolution to create real snake robots. The video shows the snakes moving about in a not-quite-smooth, but eerily lifelike manner.

The 3D connection is that major portions of the snakes are built using 3D printing technology (from Objet). Dr. Wolf explains the advantages of using 3D printing for construction of the snakes: "just throw your parts" together, you don't have to worry as much about building parts, instead you focus on the repeatedly improving the design. We can't agree more - spend your time where it is most useful. Another advantage is the potential simplicity of mechanical design. By using Objet's multi-material printing capability, they are able to produce a far simpler design that uses solid yet flexible mechanics, instead of separate parts with hinges or bearings - which of course, tend to fail. Even better, these simpler parts can be printed "in one shot".

Via YouTube (Hat tip to Shimrit)

The RapMan