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 an algorithm direct the robot. “You put it inside your pipe and you never have to think about it again. Because the robot lives there and takes care of your pipes without you ever worrying about it,” Deepak Trivedi, a mechanical engineer at GE Research, tells Fast Company. Currently, the model is being used to solve key issues in infrastructure, but as the robot can be scaled down, it might soon make its way into homes. Read more about the nifty invention at Fast Company.

Image courtesy of Daniel Salo/Fast Company