A floating robot snake that looks like the silver-plated final boss of a video game has been developed by the Suzumori Endo Laboratory at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
It’s called the "Giacometti Arm” after the spindly sculptures of the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. The 20-meter-long (65-foot-long) robot is composed of a series of helium balloons, meaning it only weighs around 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). Operators are able to control the helium-snake and move its individual segments by controlling the "thin, pneumatic artificial muscles" placed along its body.
In the team's own words, they wanted to create a "practical robot design by removing excess fat."
Given that it’s super light and easily packable, the researchers suggest it could be used for search or inspection tasks. For example, it could be ideal for a rescue mission or scientific project that requires a camera to wheedle through dangerous caves or precarious buildings. Who knows, it wouldn’t look out of place hanging off the International Space Station either.
You can read more about it in their research paper here. But before that, enjoy this wonderfully weird robot in action below.
[H/T: MIT Technology Review]