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Israeli robot trouser snake 'too big' to penetrate backdoors

New smaller, flexible version can delay its explosion

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The Israeli military is working on a smaller version of its famous trouser(ed) snake robot, intended for penetration missions into such locations as the smuggler tunnel complexes of the Egyptian border - in effect, the backdoor to Gaza. Reportedly the original robo-snake, seen in the vid below, was considered too large and insufficiently flexible.

In the vid, the machine is shown clad in the same camouflage patterned cloth used in items of Israeli military apparel. The trouser(ed) snake exhibits an impressive ability to become rigid and erect itself as required in order to gain access to otherwise impenetrable areas.

However the original snake had only a single degree of freedom at each joint, meaning that it had to be overly long and heavy to deliver the necessary flexibility. Now, Israeli war-tech site Defense Update reports that a new and enhanced robo snake is under development.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Gabi Dobresco of the Israeli Defence Forces, the new snake will have two degrees of freedom at each joint, meaning that it can be shorter and yet still have full mobility and flexibility. Dobresco considers that it "could be useful in urban and subterranean warfare, enabling the inspection and surveillance of sewage systems, narrow tunnels, or culverts, inaccessible by other systems".

It seems that after slipping into targeted tunnels and the like, the snake – which is floppy or rigid depending on requirements – would be used to deposit unwelcome payloads with serious consequences: for instance delayed-action bombs, or spy packages of various sorts.

The original version reportedly had some of the same capabilities, but lacked the restraint of the new machine - it could only explode as soon as it reached its destination, after which it would be largely useless. ®

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