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Scientists built a terrifying robot snake that can climb ladders

Snakes and ladders used to be a board game, now it's an integral part of our shared robot dystopian future. Can't wait!

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Mark Serrels Editorial Director
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
Mark Serrels
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Kyoto University and the University of Electro-Communications  

We tend to oversell the "scariness" of robots , right? The Boston Dynamics robot does a backflip or parkour and we're cracking jokes about the revolution and our potential robot overlords. But honestly, how bad could it be?

How about robot snakes that have learned how to climb up ladders.

Yeah, that's pretty bad.

The above abomination is the creation of Kyoto University and the University of Electro-Communications. It was unveiled last week at the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The motto of that conference: "Towards a Robotic Society".

Toward a dystopian future where humankind is under assault from armies of parkour robots and ladder climbing snakes. 

From the team's abstract:

We propose a ladder climbing method for a snake robot that has a smooth surface shape. We design a novel gait for the snake using a gait design method that configures the target form of the snake robot by connecting simple shapes. The climbing motion is executed via shift control and the corresponding motion required to catch the next step on the ladder.

Sounds great!

The idea is this robot will be able to access spaces human beings can't, particularly during disaster situations with broken down buildings and whatnot. You can find out more here.

Meet Boston Dynamics' weird and wonderful robot family

See all photos