I have said before that if you are going to build a robot, then you should imitate something of nature. I have seen robots inspired from snakes and birds, but this is the first one that I have seen that have looked to the caterpillar.
Actually, it is a certain type of caterpillar. Have you ever seen that type of bug that curls into a ball when it is touched? This is what you can see here in the video after the jump, and in slow motion, it is quite impressive.
A team from an organization known as Tufts has got some funding from DARPA to create the GoQBot, a soft-bodied silicone robot that is four inches long with actuators made of shape-memory alloy coils. It already has a push-off time of less than 250 milliseconds.
You might be wondering why in the world someone would create a robot that can do this. Apparently this “ballistic rolling” behavior could be used on other sort of robots, like the ones modeled after worms and the aforementioned snakes.
I see a world full of “bugged bugs” that will ball up for protection when they are discovered. Hopefully, the important information will be downloaded by the time they self-destruct. Yes, the future is a buggy age.