The robots are at it again.

Plumbing, I mean.

Did you think I meant something scary?

Anyway, there really is a new robot that’s built to unclog pipes, and it does it by mimicking earthworms.

As Fast Company reported recently, this is appropriately called the Pipe-Worm, though I thought for sure the first robot that wandered around in pipes would look like Super Mario.

It’s the size of a snake, several feet long, but it moves the way a worm does.

The robot has no wheels or legs, and it doesn’t need them; it curls up and then stretches back out.

That movement is enough to grip the pipe underneath and propel it forward.

The Pipe-Worm also has sensors sort of like antennae, so it can not only map out the pipes through which it travels, it can make sure the pipes are operating effectively.

If not, the sensors can detect what the problem is.

And its creators, GE Research, say the Pipe-Worm can even be equipped with attachments that could clear a blockage or someday even weld a broken section of pipe.

It’s a concept that could be useful in somebody’s house, cleaning out pipes the way robot vacuums and mops tidy up floors.

And there is some talk about maybe producing a scaled-down Pipe-Worm for consumers.

But the current model is being tested for even bigger challenges.

More and more, cities and towns are dealing with fatbergs, those huge, hard chunks of solid fats like oil and grease, mixed with things like soap and the non-flushable items that people flush anyway.

When fatbergs clog up sewer systems, utility companies have to send in crews to clear them, which can make water and sewer service more expensive.

Plus, they can host some really unhealthy bacteria, stuff that you really wouldn’t want backing up into your sinks and toilets if the fatberg reached its fattest.

The Pipe-Worm, even with its soft body, is strong enough to break up solid material like what’s in a fatberg.

Although I have to think that if a fatberg saw an armada of robotic worms coming at it with drills and saws in their heads, it would break itself apart on the spot.

It’s World Water Day, a good day to look back at a project by artist Dylan Martinez.

In 2018 he combined sculpting and glassblowing to create what look like plastic bags filled with water, but they’re made completely of glass.

Do not let the robotic worms inside those things.

Worms and cockroaches inspired this robot that can unclog any pipe (Fast Company)

Glass Sculptures by Dylan Martinez Perfectly Imitate Water-Filled Plastic Bags (Colossal)

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Screenshot from GE Research promo video.