When it comes to natural disasters, countries with less able infrastructure tend to see casualties in the tens of thousands, but as for other more advanced countries such as Japan, a standard earthquake (unlike the most recent one in March this year) results in but a handful of deaths. Regardless, sifting through all the rubble of the aftermath can be quite a dangerous and tedious task, even when you have the assistance of sniffing rescue dogs to help you out. How about enlisting the help of robots instead? That’s been done, but here is a newly envisioned robot that seem to slither from Soundwave’s zoo – a huge robotic worm which can worm through rubble in search of trapped people underneath tons of metal and steel. 

Jordan Boyle from the University of Leeds, UK, studied the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans closely, and drawing his inspiration from nature, wrote control software which mimics its unique motion. This software will replicate the nematode’s movement, where it is able to vary its wiggling frequency fourfold, resulting in a wide range of speeds and undulating motions.

The robot is capable of sensing the angle that each segment describes, relative to its spine. There will be microphones, carbon-dioxide sensors (sensing breath) and infrared cameras located right in front so that it can do its job even in the most inhospitable of situations. Hopefully this robot will be materialized sooner than later – you never know when the next big one might hit.

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