There are some situations where a robot could be really useful, but the typical robot made of metal and joints and wheels just won’t do. For example, exploring a narrow crevice at an archaeological dig: the space is tight and twisty and too small for a person. Plus, there’s a lot of debris in the tunnel, so most robotic cameras you try to feedback there will hit something and get snagged before reaching the end. What you really need is a snake-like robot that can wriggle its way around and over obstacles automatically. That’s what engineers at UC Santa Barbara have developed. Nicholas Naclerio is a Ph.D. student working on these robots.