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Stretchy Robot Worms Could Inch Their Way into Tech Applications

A roboworm.

The soft, wiggly roboworms can stretch up to nine times their own length and are capable of a form of proprioception the method by which biological organisms like worms perceive their position in space.

Credit: University of Glasgow

Engineers at the U.K.'s University of Glasgow have designed soft robots that can move like inchworms and earthworms.

The roboworms can stretch up to nine times their own length and use a form of proprioception—the ability of organisms like worms to perceive their spatial position—to squeeze into tight spaces.

Magnets attached at either end of the robots' bodies help them to locomote along a metal surface, while intrinsic strain sensors measure electrical resistance caused by a graphite-impregnated skin to sense their movements in relation to their bodies.

The university’s Ravinder Dahiya said, “The ability of soft robots like these to adapt to their surroundings through seamlessly embedded stretchable sensors could help autonomous robots more effectively navigate through even the most challenging environments.”

From University of Glasgow (U.K.)
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