One day as Nicholas Lauer was digging in the garden, he found an earthworm. While he would have normally ignored the little creature and continued on, on this occasion he was captivated by the way it moved. After some research and consideration, he decided to make his own “worm,” controlled using an Arduino Uno and pneumatics.
The worm’s body is 3D-printed in six air-tight segments with Ninjaflex filament, attached with Loctite adhesive in the center to allow for free expansion. When assembled, each segment is inflated sequentially to enable it to move forward. This effect is known as peristaltic motion, which is also (not coincidentally) the way that peristaltic pumps work, and how you’re able to digest food.
An Arduino Uno sequences the inflation order, activated with the help of transistors and mini solenoid valves. A 12V mini diaphragm pump provides the actual inflation air. A short clip of the results is seen in the video below. Build instructions encourage anyone else following in Lauer's footsteps to play around with the interval times in the program to see what creates the best moving effect. One could also see adding a few more segments, or even another row of expansion chambers beside the original to see what else you can do with it