Snake charmer from Technion

October 22, 2009
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Dr Alon Wolf told how snake-like mechanisms could aid rescue work

Dr Alon Wolf told how snake-like mechanisms could aid rescue work

Israeli robotics expert Dr Alon Wolf captivated student audiences in London with explanations of pioneering futuristic systems developed at the Technion in Haifa, where he is director of the biorobotics and biomechanics lab.

As well as addressing JFS and King’s College London groups, Dr Wolf — who visited under the aegis of the British Technion Society — gave a lecture at the Royal Institution on robots deployed on search and rescue missions. These include snake-like mechanisms which imitate real-life snake locomotion.

“The robots we are creating at the Technion are extremely flexible and are able to manipulate delicate objects and navigate around walls,” he said. “Over 400 rescue workers were killed during 9/11 because of the dangerous and unstable environment they were attempting to access and our objective is to ensure that robots are able to replace humans in such precarious situations.”

In his presentations, Dr Wolf also highlighted his research into the movement of barn owls and its application to create surveillance technology for monitoring terrorist suspects. Another Technion innovation was miniature robots for medical research. The robots could reach areas inaccessible to conventional surgery, such as the back of the heart.

Last updated: 3:23pm, October 22 2009