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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Giant Worm Robot! Santa Heard Me Finally!

 Softworm: A Soft, Biologically Inspired Worm-Like Robot

Potential uses for this big gross dude:
  • Robotic surgery and diagnosis
  • Industrial pipe inspection
  • Search and rescue missions

Strictly in my own opinion, I find this 70 centimetre long robot worm incredibly creepy.  Regardless, it's still fascinating.  The goal achieved here is working peristalsis (the movement allowing worms to crawl, as well as the waves of contraction in our gastrointestinal tracts)

Their accomplishment, as taken from their abstract:
"This method of locomotion is particularly effective in constrained spaces, and although the motion has been studied for some time, it has not been effectively or accurately implemented in a robotic platform."

This video (mostly silent) shows a 2d software representation of the braided mesh in movement, giving a clear idea of what's going on here.  Then you get up close and personal to watch the big guy run.

This next video explains the robot in detail, in language only slightly above layman's terms.  It was after watching this that I became really impressed.

"Continuous Wave Peristaltic Locomotion"

Visit the Case Western Reserve University SoftWorm project site at

The SoftWorm Team - Case Western Reserve University
Alexander Boxerbaum
Hillel J. Chiel
Roger D. Quinn

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