So it looks like firefighters may be the next unlucky professionals replaced by cheap robotic labor, at least if a snakebot built by the Foundation for Industrial and Scientific Research in Norway (SINTEF) ever makes it into mass production. Lovingly nicknamed Anna Konda (no explanation necessary), the Norwegian bot was assembled using 20 hydraulic motors powered by a regular fire hose, whose 100 bars of pressure give it enough strength to break through walls and even lift a car right up off the ground. Anna consists of ten segments containing angle sensors, two valves, and two motors each -- rotating around orthogonal axes and wrapped in a tough steel exoskeleton -- that are controlled by a computer to help her maneuver over numerous types of terrain. Besides providing support in dangerous situations like tunnel fires, SINTEF envisions future versions of Anna being used to locate and provide oxygen to earthquake victims or perform maintenance on underwater oil rigs. The good news for human firefighters is that at least a few of their traditional tasks still remain beyond the robosnake's capabilities -- well, until it's able to climb a tree and rescue a stranded cat without breaking its neck, that is.
[Via Technology Trends]