Tiny robotics: earthworm robot to fix engines

A team of roboticists invented a tiny robot that can crawl through aircraft engines like an earthworm

The mechanical earthworm features soft actuators or “movers” that act as artificial muscles and “feet” made from a carbon fiber composite.  The actuators are the key components of the robot that are small yet powerful enough to drive the device to move rapidly in a pipe through electric charges.  The robot is also made of segments that can be snapped together with magnets, allowing the operator to customize the exact design based on the specifications required. 

Soon, we can put the earthworm-like device in the twisting and turning pipelines of an aircraft engine and have the robot navigate to the end while sending back images along the way.

Do you think this invention can also be used in other applications besides tiny engines?  Let us know your thoughts. 

Leave a Comment