Biomimicry has been the source of remarkable scientific advances in the last few years, especially when we look to the planet's creatures that are the least like us for inspiration. That's the case with these snake-inspired air-powered rubber robots in the above video, which we covered a few months back.
Now Xi Chen of Boston University and George Whitesides of Harvard, who are behind the technology, are bringing it to the next level, reports Wired Science. The next generation of "soft robots" will be made of fabric and wire mesh in addition to rubber and paper. The stronger materials act much like steroids for robots: the new creations will be able to lift 120 times their own weight.
The added strength will take the robots from a nifty technology to a useful one; not only will they be able to worm into tight spaces, they will be able to move things around once they get there. The next step is to incorporate wiring and electronics, to add to the range of functions the robots can perform.