Speedy Inchworm Robot Only Needs One Motor

This robotic worm is destined to be crawling around inside your body

1 min read
Speedy Inchworm Robot Only Needs One Motor

Want to know what this thing is? Here's a hint: it's a miniature inchworm. And it's quite possibly the fastest miniature inchworm robotin the world, even though it uses just one single motor.

The "Mission: Impossible" music might be a bit much here, but the mechanical design is pretty clever: moving segments equipped with clamps alternately retract and extend, propelling the inchworm robot forward. All it takes a single motor to spin the thing, and since it's so simple, you can crank it up to 5 cm/s, which is seriously quick for a robot like this. But perhaps the biggest advantage is efficiency: with a small on-board battery, these kinds of robots can climb vertically for hundreds of meters.

The robots were developed at the Medical Robots Lab at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, by David Zarrouk, Oshri Ifergan, Yossi Baruch and Moshe Shoham. Look for roboworms to eventually show up in applications including maintenance of small pipes and medical procedures in biological vessels. So yeah, we're talking about these little things crawling around inside your intestines, blood vessels, and (I'm quoting from the abstract here) "urethra." Sweet dreams!

[ Paper ] via [ Technion ]

The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

Keep Reading ↓Show less