Home Robotics A prototype biomimetic worm-bot with a network of artificial “neurons” has been created

A prototype biomimetic worm-bot with a network of artificial “neurons” has been created

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Welcome to the blog iCover ! As we know, the nature around us is an inexhaustible source of useful knowledge and experience, which often find its application, both in the most promising technologies of the future, and at the most domestic level.The hero of our today’s publication is an ordinary earthworm, which inspired scientific minds to create a unique in its kind biomimetic robot.Despite the skeptical and hostile attitude of many to earthworms, they do a lot of useful work in their relatively short life, and for roboticists they are a real treasure trove of valuable information.
A prototype biomimetic worm-bot with a network of artificial "neurons" has been created
Research into the mechanism of movement of the earthworm has enabled a collaborative team of engineers and neuroscientists at Case Western ReserveUniversity’s Center for Biotechnology Research in Robotics ( Case Western Reserve ) to create a prototype CMMWorm biomimetic bot worm. According to the authors of the invention, the bot could be used in the study of hard-to-reach debris, in rescue work, in pipe inspections, in medicine, and in other areas where other types of robots cannot be used.
"Earthworms, " explains team leader Andrew Horchler, "move in a special way, using peristalsis (a wave-like contraction of the walls of hollow tubular organs to help move their contents toward their exit holes). – For this purpose, worms use two types of muscles capable of contracting and expanding fluid-filled sacs, making them wider and shorter, then thinner and longer, which eventually ensures their advancement in the preferred direction…. Our prototype biomimetic worm-bot, the "CMMWorm", uses the outer reticulum" to form waves of movement along the entire body.
The project was preceded by the creation of numerous intermediate kinematic models and 2D simulations to overcome the existing limitations of actuators on large segments over time. To analyze the physical processes of earthworm motion and then translate those principles into a functioning robot model, engineers needed to leverage the power of mathematical algorithms and computer modeling. After studying the elements of the earthworm’s physical and nervous system responsible for its movement process, Horchler and colleagues in the group created a 3D-printed, electronically controlled robot capable of accurately replicating the movements of the original worm. This method of movement, " said the engineer, "can be very effective in confined spaces. So, for example, plastic robot worms can be used for pipe inspections, excavations or probing procedures, for example.
The movement in space of the network of node modules is provided by electrical actuators synchronized with a central microcontroller, making it possible to simulate contraction and elongation. Multiple 3D printed modules are interconnected through nylon molds and drive mechanisms. The modular structure of the bot’s body can be scaled by adding additional prefabricated "sections" as quickly and easily as Lego elements are added.
A prototype biomimetic worm-bot with a network of artificial "neurons" has been created
" Worm body compression range up to 52% of maximum diameter in combination with six independently controllable segments and the possibility to change the mesh-shell to a preferred one, significantly expand the application possibilities of the CMMWorm concept…" explain the developers. – In the foreseeable future, microscopic modifications of the CMM used for insertion into the human body in procedures similar to endoscopy may be possible.
The latest version of the CMMWorm prototype modular biomimetic worm bot
Despite the outward simplicity of the bot’s design, it will take several more years for the experts to refine the project into scalable, and more importantly, effective solutions that can be used for their intended purpose.
Read more about the development here


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