Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox every week.      
The Kid Should See This

The secrets of a sidewinder snake on a sandy slope – ScienceTake

If you’ve ever run up a sandy hill, you know it can be tough to get up it quickly — each foot sinking and sliding as you climb upward. Sidewinder snakes, however, can slither up hills rather efficiently, even in comparison to related snake species. What’s their secret?

Georgia Tech physicist Daniel I. Goldman conducted a series of tests with a sidewinder to observe and analyze how their bodies move across sand at different degrees of incline. From The New York Times:

With high-speed videotape they analyzed a sidewinder’s movement and determined that it doesn’t dig deeper into the sand as the slopes get steeper. It keeps more of its body in contact with sand as it moves by lifting other parts of its body.

They created a simple model of the snake’s movement, describing it as two waves, not simultaneous, but staggered and running from head to tail. One wave runs horizontally, parallel to the ground, and the other runs vertically, like a wave on the ocean. Together they lift portions of the snake’s body up from the sand and move it forward.

As a confirmation of their findings, the team then worked with Carnegie Mellon roboticists to program a snake robot based on the sidewinder’s movement. The result: The snakebot successfully moved up the hill, too.

Watch related videos: The secret design and movement of slithering snakes, Wheeko: A snake robot that could explore Mars, and more biomimicry vids.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Stanford’s MicroTug robot can pull 2,000x its weight on glass

Rion Nakaya

GimBall by Flyability: A collision-tolerant flying robot

Rion Nakaya

Terradynamic Biolegged Robot For Mars Exploration

Rion Nakaya

A window into ladybug wing origami

Rion Nakaya

The Festo BionicFinWave, an autonomous underwater robot

Rion Nakaya

Epic Catapulting Locust In Slow Motion

Rion Nakaya

Octopus, elephant, & human arm robot assistants from Festo

Rion Nakaya

Zebro, an autonomous swarming robot built for rescue

Rion Nakaya

DARPA Robotics Challenge 2013 – A Woodstock for Robots

Rion Nakaya