Unsatisfied with the crawling, writhing, coiling and climbing abilities of their existing hoard of robotic snakes, members of Carnegie Mellon University's Biorobotics Laboratory have gone and given their mechanical serpent a brand new talent: the ability to wrap itself in a stranglehold around pretty much anything it's thrown at.

The engineers refer to this behavior, rather innocuously, as "perching":

Using the accelerometers inside each module of the snake robot we are able to detect when the robot hits a pole or branch after being thrown and have the robot automatically perch on contact.

The aim of the CMUBiorobotics team is to create machines for search and rescue missions that can take advantage of their lithe, articulated body plans to access hard-to-reach places. The slap-bracelet functionality allows for what the engineers call "quick climb deployment," not oxygen-depriving constriction à la anaconda. Not that that makes this video of a robo-snake threading itself through an obstacle any less bizarre.