Taking inspiration from the creepy crawly movements of the earthworm, scientists at MIT have developed a high-tech robot that can squeeze its way into virtually any space. Called the Meshworm, the wire and nickel worm is durable enough to withstand being stepped on or hit with a mallet. The flexible robot worm could one day be used in applications ranging from flexible prosthetics and implants to extreme spyware.

The worm robot is designed to crawl along using peristalsis – the same movement the muscles in our throats use to push food to our stomachs. Made from loosely woven titanium and nickel wire mesh, the worm pushes itself along by contracting each of its segments, slowly moving forward inch by inch.

The metals give the body shape flexibility as well as durability and resilience. The worm can bounce back to its shape under the crunch of a foot, and even keep moving forward after a serious blow. These qualities make the innovative robot perfect for disaster situations, especially if the grounds being explored are still unsafe. The robots can also squeeze into hard to reach places, under doors, and over rough landscapes.

This soft robotics study by  researchers at MIT, Harvard University, and Seoul National University points the way to shape-shifting robotics that could be used in mobile phones, cars, and the medical field.


Via Daily Mail