Researchers build a robot inspired by caterpillars, nightmares (video)

There's a long history of robots modeled on animals, and some researchers from Tufts University have now taken things in a particularly creepy-crawly direction. They've built a robot that's able to mimic the way a caterpillar balls itself up to bounce away from predators. As you can see in the video above, while the robot (dubbed GoQBot) is quite a bit bigger than the actual bug, is does indeed do a pretty good caterpillar imitation. What might such a bot be used for? Well, the researchers say that the so-called "ballistic rolling" behavior could be used to improve on some of the many existing robots that are modeled on worms or snakes -- which could let them fling themselves into a disaster area, for instance, and then wiggle around to aid in search and rescue operations. Head on past the break to see the bot in slow-motion.