Stanford University is home to some of the most advanced research and respected scientists in the world, and what's especially impressive about the work coming out of the university is that much of it has been accomplished with only the simplest of tools and materials. Earlier this year, Stanford researchers came up with an effective way to diagnose malaria using a 3D printed version of a child's toy; now, another research team from the university has created a fascinating robotic tool that's basically just a plastic tube. The newly developed robot looks something like a long balloon, but it's much more resilient - and useful. The researchers were inspired by things in nature that grow to vast lengths across distances, such as fungi, vines and nerve cells. In a paper entitled "A soft robot that navigates its environment through growth," the researchers describe how they created a robot from a soft, flexible plastic material that was folded inside of itself. Read more at