10 Aug '12, 1pm

DARPA Funds Development of Robotic Earthworm

DARPA Funds Development of Robotic Earthworm

Researchers from MIT, Harvard and Seoul National University have collaborated on a new robot that moves like an earthworm. The slinking, inching robot is being partially funded by DARPA because of the advances the project is making in autonomous soft robotics -- or those using flexible, soft materials. This type of robot could be useful for traveling across rugged terrain and navigating hard-to-reach spaces and their soft exterior makes them safe for human interaction. An earthworm moves by alternately contracting and stretching one set of muscles that run down the length of their bodies and one set that wraps around their bodies. The muscles work together to create the inching motion. In order to build a robotic version of the earthworm, the researchers, led by MIT professor Sangbae Kim, created a soft body by heat-sealing a rolled up tube of polymer mesh. The springiness...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/darpa-funds-robotic-ear...

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