Even though I am based in the United States, I am constantly thinking about Japan after the tsunami and earthquake.
A while ago, we reported on a snake-like robot known as the Omnitread that is essentially a train of treaded cars that can got through rubble. It is a design that I have seen before in the Firegard, and this model here.
This particular device is a self-propelled snakebot developed by Satoshi Tadokoro, and it also has the ability to burrow through collapsed buildings. A light and a camera will show what is buried underneath.
There are no treads on this particular thing, but it uses motorized nylon bristles to make it crawl through tight places. It can take very tight turns, and I would imagine that it can return with information needed to perform a rescue.
It looks like the designer used a caterpillar for inspiration, and this looks like what a caterpillar would look like if it had legs all over its body instead of just its underbelly.
I completely agree with my Source and say that yes, I hope this snakebot was looking for people under the rubble in Japan right now. I could use a bit of hope in the midst of seeing the devastation there.