Researches at Harvard have a gift for anyone who’s fascinated by snakes. They’ve created a robot that has artificial scaly skin and slithers like a real snake.

The robot’s skin is a stretchable plastic sheet, while the robot itself is a silicone rubber tube. When air is pumped into the tube, the robot goes through expansions and contractions, as a snake does, to push forward.

But how is this form of movement – slithering and not walking – useful? The idea is to deploy these robots in disaster zones, where they are required to navigate terrain on which walking might be impossible.