It's not enough that "Meshworm", a new robot developed at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University, looks like a crawling worm, it's also nigh indestructible as it can survive being bludgeoned with a hammer.
The robot is named “Meshworm” for the flexible, meshlike tube that makes up its body. Researchers created “artificial muscle” from wire made of nickel and titanium — a shape-memory alloy that stretches and contracts with heat. They wound the wire around the tube, creating segments along its length, much like the segments of an earthworm. They then applied a small current to the segments of wire, squeezing the mesh tube and propelling the robot forward. [...]
As an ultimate test of soft robotics, the group subjected the robot to multiple blows with a hammer, even stepping on the robot to check its durability. Despite the violent impacts, the robot survived, crawling away intact.
“You can throw it, and it won’t collapse,” Kim says. “Most mechanical parts are rigid and fragile at small scale, but the parts in Meshworms are all fibrous and flexible. The muscles are soft, and the body is soft … we’re starting to show some body-morphing capability.”
Body-morphing? Haven't these scientists watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day?
I, for one, welcome our new Meshworm overlords! Link