An immense photo (5616*3744) of a larva. Click to enlarge the more than 5k pixel photo. Credit: Yun / Flickr. A real larva such as this one is the inspiration for researchers at MIT.

These robotic earthworms were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers use a similar mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around.

Now researchers at MIT, Harvard University, and Seoul National University have collaborated to engineer a similar mechanical system that mimics the motion of earthworms.

These soft autonomous robots move via peristalsis, crawling across surfaces by contracting segments of its body. The robots, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient and even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed.

Check it out below.