|Soft actuator: DRL, CSAIL, MIT|
The picture shows an actuator like those used to move the robot.
If that's not scary enough, you can watch a video.
I find the snail-like creature rather scary; it wouldn't be out of place in Doctor Who. Luckily it moves so slowly that escape would be fairly simple, unless you're surrounded by the beasts!
The original poster cited a paper on the Distributed Robotics Laboratory Wiki. You'll find many other fascinating robotics projects described there.
It's a great place to look for inspiration if you want to start a robotics project that would really stand out.