A tough but flexible bot unfurls like a plant using a pressurized plastic tube to inch through rugged environments.
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A new soft robot grows like a tendril.
It unfurls from the inside to creep forward, stretching up to 72 meters away from its source.
The unique design reduces friction, letting the bot navigate complex environments without snagging.
It can handle everything from fly paper, to glue, to a bed of nails.
The bot can navigate like a plant toward the light.
It uses a camera threaded through the tube to calculate its course while small chambers inflate to steer.
Robots like this could be used in disasters.
It’s flexible enough to wiggle through tiny gaps, and light enough to “walk” on water. But strong enough to lift heavy objects,
and apply the force to turn a valve.