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Meet Anna Konda, a water-spewing robot snake that is being developed by Norwegian research company Sintef to assist rescue workers in situations that are too dangerous for humans. Sinteff initiated the “Snakefighter Project” in 2003 and built the 3-meter long demonstration unit that is capable of various forms of snake-like propulsion. And, it can also raise its head and spray water.
The main purpose of the robot water snakes will be to assist rescue workers in extremely dangerous situations. Future Anna Kondas will be able to enter burning buildings, fight tunnel fires or slither through wreckage from an earthquake. The developers also see the snakes being used to carry critical supplies such as oxygen masks or communications devices to rescue workers. rnrn
Left is an illustration of how finished devices would look fighting a fire.
The idea behind the robot snake is to equip a fire hose with water hydraulic valves and actuators that make it capable of moving forward like a biological snake. However, plain water contains corrosive and poor lubricating properties–making it a challenge to build miniature hyrdraulic components to work over an extended period, says Pal Liljeback, Sintef spokesman for the Snakefighter Project. Therefore, engineers are custom-building small water hydraulic valves that are used to move each joint in the snake robot.
Designers envision that the robot’s hydraulic power will enable it to clear away heavy objects and perhaps even smash through walls.rnrn
Right, water nozzles on the face of a covered Anna Konda.
An early demonstration shows Anna Konda at work.
This illustration shows how robot snakes would fight a fire in a tunnel.