Until now, peristalsis, the shrinking of body segments to generate movement, has been hard to create robotically. Researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University have not only successfully recreated a worm’s movement in robotic form, but have also created an extremely resilient robot that uses only memory metals and electricity.
MIT calls it “meshworm” because it of its simplicity and biologically inspired design. They took a close look at the muscular system ground dwellers and learned that their bodies could be simulated using a large coil and a wire running the length of the mesh body. The coil controlls the forward/backward movement, and the length wire controlling the left/right turning.
The potential applications of this annelid inspired technology include navigating rough terrain and squeezing through tight spaces. It’s also significant progress for humanity in the search to recreate life artificially.
Robotic fly takes off at Harvard (guardian.co.uk)
MIT: From geek to chic (bizjournals.com)
MIT researchers pursuing increasing human-vehicle collaboration (greencarcongress.com)