Mimicking Adaptation and Plasticity in WORMS

Biomimicry, smart technology and smart materials

Three words are not enough to describe MAPWORMS’ ambition to develop a new branch of robotics. However, these ones represent the core of the project and its future ramifications as a leading and disruptive plan in the field of biorobotics.

Indeed, the main aim of MAPWORMS is to overcome the limitations of the current state of art systems by proposing the first bioinspired shape-morphing robot based on stimuli-responsive materials. In particular, the robot will be able:

  • to adapt to the environment;
  • to morph its shape according to environmental cues.

The result is a completely autonomous robot, able to perform many different tasks, rather than a robot capable of performing only under specific circumstances.

What did we take inspiration from? The Annelids, also known as the segmented worms or the ringed worms, because of their unsegmented body which they can partially evert as a result of the contraction of circular muscles surrounding the internal fluid-filled cavity.


Phylogeny, Habitat Adaptation and Plasticity

Observing the body plasticity plan in marine Annelida and its capability to adapt to the external environment’s constraints from every point of view (i.e. anatomically, morphologically, behaviourally, etc.).

Mathematical Modeling

Developing a mathematical model of the marine Annelida plasticity and its adaptation to the environment, focusing on the morphological changes intervened, in order to conceive models of structures created from stimuli-responsive hydrogels.

Shape Memory Hydrogels

Developing smart materials, leaning onto smart shape memory hydrogels, able to respond to different stimuli (such as light, pH, specific chemicals, etc.) and with shape morphing and self-healing capabilities. The result will be smart materials mimicking metabolic mechanisms of biological systems.

Shape Morphing Robots

Developing modular and shape morphing robots, which will result from the combination of multiple actuation units, including different types of responsive hydrogels and non-responsive materials. These robots will stand out for their self-adaptability with a huge potential in selected medical applications.

MAPWORMS Consortium
MAPWORMS Latest News

Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (SSSA),
The BioRobotics Institute
V.Le R. Piaggio, 34
56025 Pontedera, Italy

Project Management

Project Coordinator
Arianna Menciassi
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, The BioRobotics Institute

Project Manager
Selene Tognarelli
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, The BioRobotics Institute

Communication Manager
Erika Gulino
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, The BioRobotics Institute

Project Info

Starting date: May 2022
Duration: 48 months
Funding: ~ 2.9 M€
Coordinator: Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, The BioRobotics Institute
Partners: 6 from 5 EU countries

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 101046846