You read that correctly. In yet another freaky-yet-awesome move by DARPA, a team at Tufts University has been awarded a $3.3 million contract to develop a breed of “chemical robots” based on the caterpillar form of Manduca sexta. With bodies made of bioengineered, environmentally-friendly polymers, they’d theoretically be able to fit through spaces as small as 1cm wide. Looks like they’re spreading the wealth, too; if you’re in any kind of field at all you should try to get in on this:
The project is based at the Advanced Technologies Laboratory at Tufts University and will include experts in bio/tissue engineering, soft animal neuromechanics, micromechanical engineering, soft material characterization and modeling, wireless transmission of data and power, mixed mode integrated circuit design, and mobile robot navigation and sensor fusion.
Good to know these little devils, probably armed with mind-control juice, will be creeping through the spaces in your walls sometime soon. Another win for Skynet.