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Researchers create Meshworm robot, beat it up (video)

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
August 10, 2012
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We've seen a number of options for controlling real worms, but never a worm robot, until now. Enter Meshworm, the latest creation from researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University. The bot is made from "artificial muscle" composed of a flexible mesh tube segmented by loops of nickel / titanium wire. The wire contracts and squeezes the tube when heated by a flowing current, but cut the power and it returns to its original shape, creating propulsion in a similar way to its living kin. Taking traditional moving parts out of the equation also makes it pretty hardy, as proven by extensive testing (read: hitting it with a hammer). DARPA is known for getting its fingers in all sorts of strange pies, and it also supported this project. We can't see it being the fastest way of gathering intel, but the potential medical applications, such as next-gen endoscopes, sound plausible enough. Full impact tests in the video after the break.

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