RoboWorm is a search robot with an accordion-like body that replicates the movement of earthworms. It is capable of navigating through tight (and otherwise inaccessible) spaces.
Wherever tank treads and other forward-movement mechanisms would get stuck and be unable to progress, RoboWorm can wriggle its way through. By replicating the movement of earthworms, it can move forward on extremely uneven surfaces.
RoboWorm has two heads (located at each end of the worm), eliminating the need to turn around in order to move backwards. This enables reverse movement in extremely constricted shafts. It also has cameras and other sensors, including a microphone, allowing recordings to be made in areas that are otherwise extremely difficult to access. The recordings can be sent wirelessly to a receiver station or temporarily stored.
The movement of RoboWorm is based on a simple principle. A metal ring is integrated into each ripple of the accordion-like body. Coils can be used to magnetise these rings at four different places. A processor (combined with the appropriate software) is used to control the flow of electricity in the appropriate area of the individual rings. This enables individual areas to be attracted or repelled as required.
Similar movements of the ring muscles can be simulated using an intelligent control system that manages the movement of the individual areas. The movements are adapted to the information provided by the camera, enabling RoboWorm to overcome every obstacle, every hole, and every challenging surface or route.
RoboWorm is useful in difficult-to-reach areas, such as extremely slippery or uneven surfaces, and soft soils on which wheels, strong profiles, or other moving mechanisms would get stuck. It can also help to locate buried persons in earthquake zones. Cameras and microphones allow it to detect and locate people who would otherwise be difficult to access in collapsed buildings.
Team lead: Arman Emami