OmniTread: a terrifying, vibrating, go-anywhere snakebot

It’s not quite as endearing as the (also terrifying) BigDog, but the OmniTread robot does seem pretty useful. That is, if you don’t need to go fast. The bot is a specialist in navigating rubble and small spaces, and could help locate people trapped under collapsed buildings. There is a risk of them running in terror, but if they’re pinned it shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s designed by roboticists at the University of Michigan, and right now there aren’t any production plans. But if it were to prove itself in a quake or other disaster, they might find themselves with a government contract right quick.

[via Coolest Gadgets and TechEBlog]