Analysis and design of one degree of freedom worm robots for locomotion on rigid and compliant terrain

David Zarrouk, Moshe Shoham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worm-like robots for applications including maintenance of small pipes and medical procedures in biological vessels such as the intestines, urethra, and blood vessels, have been the focus of many studies in the last few decades. The robots must be small, reliable, energy efficient, and capable of carrying cargos such as cameras, biosensors, and drugs. In this study, worm locomotion along rigid and compliant terrain is analyzed, and a novel design of worm-like multicell robots actuated by a single motor is presented. The robots employ a screw-like axis for sequencing and coordination of the cells and clamps. This design allows for significant miniaturization and reduces complexity and cost. The design of the robots and analysis of their dynamics and power efficiency are described. Two earthworm and two inchworm prototypes were built to demonstrate their performance. The robots are capable of moving forward, backward, and vertically and consume low power, which allow them to climb for hundreds of meters using onboard batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021010
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions Of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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