As a maker, I often find myself turning to nature for inspiration for new projects. One day I found an earthworm while digging though the garden. I usually wouldn't think twice about this but on this day I was quiet captivated by the way it moved. The more I thought about and researched the motion I found it wouldn't be too hard to replicate, so I built a robotic earth worm.
Peristaltic motion uses peristalsis, a sequential series of contractions, in order to induce movement. Examples in nature include the intestinal system and earth worms. In industry this principle is used in peristaltic pumps in order to move precise amounts of a fluid. Peristaltic robots are relatively novel but can be built using a variety of control methods. I have chosen pneumatic control as it lends itself to a truly "soft" robot that is compliant and rugged in addition to being waterproof when built as described.