Earthworm Jim would be proud of his mechanical kin – the Meshworm robot that is the brainchild of scientists over at the MIT. Just take a look at the video above of the Meshworm in action, and tell me that you are not mesmerized with its life-like movement. The Meshworm robot is a collaboration between researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University, resulting in this soft autonomous robot which is capable of making movement through peristalsis, helping it crawl across surfaces through the simple action of contracting segments of its body, in a manner that is inspired by the humble earthworm. The robot is mostly made out of soft materials, and has been touted to be extremely resilient. Heck, stepping on it is not going to damage the Meshworm, even if you were to bludgeon it with a hammer as it slowly but surely inches away unscathed to a safe space.
Sangbae Kim, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, claimed that such a soft and durable robot would definitely come in handy to navigate through rough terrain, or perhaps to link up in a mission that allows it to squeeze through tight spaces. I guess the military would not mind having a say in this, either, as a robot like the Meshworm would definitely come in handy in some of its campaigns as well. [Press Release]