DiggiWorms – Intelligent and flexible search and grab system

The DiggiWorms project combines various approaches of bionics with artificial intelligence. For a use case from the foundry, Fraunhofer IGCV scientists are developing an innovative search and gripping system with integrated sensor technology to remove fragile sand cores from the construction space.

The gripping system can dig into the sand like a hand. The fingers, analogous to the mobility of worms, penetrate downwardly compacting layers of sand.

The video shows the gripping system in a real environment in the sand bed and at the same time makes the underlying functionality visible without sand.

Technical drawing
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Technical drawing
Worm segment
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Worm segment
Negative pressure sensor data to be able to »feel« the component
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Negative pressure sensor data to be able to »feel« the component

The segmented design of the individual worms enables flexible movement in 360°. Integrated sensors give the worm fingers the necessary dexterity to intelligently locate and carefully feel the component in the installation space using CAD data. Once the component has been located, the individual worm fingers wrap around the component according to size and geometry and pull it out of the installation space – without crushing it. 

Further projects of the Fraunhofer IGCV in the field of biological transformation


Biological transformation along the product life cycle using the example of electrically powered aircrafts.


Component condition monitoring using a »sensitive outer skin«.


A lightweight framework consisting of composite tubes and cast nodes – joined by press connections.

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IGCV

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Industry solutions

The key sectors of Fraunhofer IGCV:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive and commercial vehicles


We are shaping the way into the future of efficient engineering, networked production and intelligent multi-material solutions.