A New Worm-Shaped Robot Can Unclog Pipes

GE Research recently unveiled the Pipe-worm, a long, soft-bodied robot that can clean and even repair pipes. Inspired by the movement of earthworms and the in-the-dark navigation of cockroaches, the Pipe-worm is an autonomous, flexible device. It uses air or oil pressure to expand and contract artificial muscles to generate movement. To know where to go (and even generate a map), two antennae bolstered by …

Flying Microrobots Are Upgraded With New Artificial Muscles

Over the years, researchers at MIT have been developing aerial microrobots—tiny, insect-sized robots that can fly around and perform tasks—and have just revealed a big upgrade. The latest version utilizes a new fabrication technique that allows each bot to operate on 75% lower voltage and carry an 80% heavier payload. This technique creates soft actuators that act as artificial muscles around each bot’s four sets of wings. …

World’s First Living Robots Can Now Reproduce

Last year, researchers in the US created the world’s first living machine, called xenobots. Composed of bundles of stem cells from the African clawed frog (xenopus laevis), the new life form was programmed to accomplish tasks and move microscopic objects around. Now, they can reproduce. “One [xenobot] parent can begin a pile and then, by chance, a second parent can push more cells into that …