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Chemical Robot Walks Like an Inchworm

It looks like a slice of mango. It "walks" like an inchworm. But it's not alive.

Japanese researchers used a pulsing chemical reaction to power a gelatinous robot, New Scientist magazine reports.

The scientists at the Shuji Hashimoto Laboratory at Waseda University in Tokyo are specialists in chemical robotics, which aims to build self-directed machines without metallic parts or electronics.

In this case, the chemicals were built into a flexible gel, curved to maximize tension and magnify the pulsing reaction.

When placed on a notched surface, the curved yellow object stretches, then shrinks to move forward, exactly like an inchworm.

The "walking" continues until the chemical reactions cease.

• Click here to read the New Scientist report, and watch a video.

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