Meet your new fungible, phallic robot friend

Demonstration of how the robot grows, reaching a maximum speed of 10 meters per second (22 miles per hour). (video link)

A group of mechanical engineers at Stanford has created a transparent robot that looks and behaves like a worm, elongating its body in order to move. Using a pneumatic control system, an operator can make the bot turn corners and even squeeze itself through a narrow crack between two pieces of sticky flypaper. In the crowded field of soft robotics, this strange creature is one of the most intriguing.

Mechanical-engineering researcher Elliot Hawkes and his team designed the robot for a variety of applications, including search and rescue. In a recent issue of Science Robotics, they explain that the bot could also be used to create instant 3-D structures like a spiral-shaped antenna.

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