Harvard scientists have built a new Gumby-like robot that is flexible and small enough to wiggle its way through small tight spaces, possibly opening the way for its use in future disaster rescue efforts.

A research team led by chemist George M. Whitesides borrowed from squids, starfish and other animals without hard skeletons to fashion a small, four-legged rubber robot, reported the Associated Press.

The robot resembles a white colored version of the clay animation character Gumby.

"The unique ability for soft robots to deform allows them to go places that traditional rigid-body robots cannot," Matthew Walter, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an email to the AP.

The Gumby like robot took months to construct, is 5 inches long and has four legs.

The soft ridged robot that slithers and crawls is separately controlled by pumping air into the limbs manually or via computer.

In testing the robot’s ability, researchers made it wiggle its way underneath a raised piece of glass 15 times, using different combinations of movement. The glass was three quarters of an inch from the surface, giving the robot little room to maneuver, but the robot took less than one minute to work its way underneath the glass the majority of the time.

Researchers are hoping to improve the speed of the squirming robot and are glad that the robot was strong enough to survive from the constant inflation and deflation.

"It was tough enough to survive," Harvard postdoctoral fellow Robert Shepherd told the AP.

According to the AP, Shepherd said that the robot can travel on a number of surfaces including felt cloth, gravel, mud, and Jell-O.

But the robot is connected to an external power source that’s used to control it.

Scientist are looking for a way to integrate the source before it can be deployed in the real world, the Associated Press said.

"There are many challenges to actively moving soft robots and no easy solutions," Tufts neurobiologist Barry Trimmer, who worked on the caterpillar robot, said in an email to the AP.