Earlier this year, DARPA gave us Cheetah, a four-legged robot that broke the robot land speed record by hitting 18 mph on a treadmill. Now comes a DARPA-funded machine that proudly embraces the opposite end of the robot swiftness spectrum.
Meet Meshworm, an earthworm-like robot that contracts segments of its body one after the next to inch along the ground at up to 5 millimeters per second, or about 0.01 mph. That is, literally, a snail’s pace. I
But Meshworm, designed by an MIT-led international research team, has other virtues. With a flexible mesh tube for a body, it’s lightweight, durable, and can contort itself to squeeze through tight spaces. In the video below, the researchers smash it with a hammer and stomp on it. Meshworm doesn’t care—it keeps inching along regardless.
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