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Uploaded on Mar 18, 2011
This robotic worm, built by Dr. Sangbae Kim as a postdoc at the Harvard Microrobotics Lab*, can survive multiple hits with a mallet and keep moving along. The worm is driven by "shape-memory alloy" springs. When electrical current is applied, the springs heat up and contract. When the current is removed, they cool down and return to their original length. This results in motion similar (but not identical) to that of natural muscle, so the material is also referred to as "muscle wire".
For more technical details, see the publication "Peristaltic locomotion with antagonistic actuators in soft robotics" by S.-O. Seok, C. Onal, R.J. Wood, D. Rus and S. Kim.
The Harvard Microrobotics Lab is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS, seas.harvard.edu) at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (wyss.harvard.edu).