Robotic worm

In another example of biomimicry applied to robotics, researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Seoul National University created this Meshworm.

The robot, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient: Even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed…

The robot is named “Meshworm” for the flexible, mesh like tube that makes up its body. Researchers created “artificial muscle” from wire made of nickel and titanium — a shape-memory alloy that stretches and contracts with heat. They wound the wire around the tube, creating segments along its length, much like the segments of an earthworm. They then applied a small current to the segments of wire, squeezing the mesh tube and propelling the robot forward.

"Soft autonomous robot inches along like an earthworm"



  1. ‘Next Generation Endoscopes’? Is endoscopy not unpleasant enough? ‘Hi, I’m your proctologist, could you just turn over so this robot worm can crawl up your ass‘ ?

    1. The sex toy industry? The next generation of the Sybian? (In addition to the rotate and vibrate functions…)

  2. It’s refreshing to see a bio-mimic robot whose primary purpose doesn’t immediately seem to be surveillance or hunter-killer drone. Not to say that DARPA doesn’t already have some disturbing fantasies about this one. 

    1. I thought DOD was the key funding source for “next generation endoscopy.”  No?

      On a more realistic and dour note, I’d hate to see what a dispersal of these armed with some sort of neurotoxin would do to trench warfare…

    2. If you can’t imagine a few horrific ways that thing could kill a person… you are  luckier than I am. I see a bright future for this little guy in the  Enhanced Interrogation field.

  3. This is where a Genetic algorithm or similar method would be great to figure out the best way to move.. just let it try and rank random contraction patterns.. then figure its best propulsion based on how far it gets.

    1.  Not saying it couldn’t be done, but based on the speed the robots seem to move with, the iterations would take forever. Plus you would need a whole swarm of these things, each with its own set of movement rules.

      Also, I sort of wish typing the last sentence hadn’t made me imagine the existence of a swarm of robot worms.

  4. They’re going about this the wrong way if they want a bestseller. Don’t imagine what part of the body you could insert a rhythmically contracting, hollow tube into… imagine what part of the human body you could insert into IT.

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