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back to article 'Soft robots' will use gut-wrenching propulsion method

American boffins say they are poised to invent a new class of shape-shifting "soft bodied robots" which will manoeuvre - perhaps inside the human body - by mimicking the literally gut-wrenching means by which certain species of creepy-crawly get about. Assembled experts in the States have opened the door to a fearsome new class …

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Coat

Gut mechanics?

Full of crap.

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Joke

@"The caterpillars apparently pump their bowels furiously back and forth as they crawl about. "

Very much like the effect of a late night Vindaloo.

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Unhappy

Ok cool...

But why does the movie "Slither" pop into my mind when reading this?

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Alert

Search and rescue?

If you can be found and rescued by caterpillars, you could probably rescue yourself.

Will it be thousands of normal-size caterpillars co-operating to carry you to safety, or one huge caterpillar that grabs you in its mandibles (or whatever caterpillars have). Either sounds pretty alarming.

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Sounds very alarming....

These robots are designed to squeeze into small spaces. Presumably in order to retrieve you you'll also have to be capable (or MADE capable) of fitting through said small spaces, or torn into pieces of the correct size.

Either way theres going to be a fair old bit of healing required once rescue is complete.

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Big Brother

Just another toy

The perv patrol at the airports must be just squirming with the anticipation of deploying such a new toy on the unsuspecting masses.

"Sir, you have been chosen at random for further security screening. We just need you to submit to a quick check by our drug sniffing, explosive chemical detecting robo-wurm. Now then, please step behind the curtain and remove your trousers."

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"apparently pump their bowels furiously back and forth"

Happened to me after a certain seafood of which I will never eat again in my life.

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On a more technical note

How good is this in reality? It looks quite simple to design a robotic dragonfly, until you think about the mechanics of four wings flapping at a humming speed, a million-odd beats in a day, totally in sync and reliable, with minor variations for up/down/turn/forward, running off a button cell. Suddenly the little bug becomes a monumental (perhaps currently insurmountable?) challenge.

So this gut-wiggling robo-bug. Is it energy efficient, doing that?

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Re : On a more technical note →

Of course it might be designed to mimic nature - and, er, live off the 'land'

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