While the developers say it will be some time before the Lego bot will be avoiding predators or searching for a mate, scientists say the project shows that artificial intelligence, or AI as it is known, is coming out of the realm of science fiction.
The machine's sensors without any prior programming made the robot behave in a similar fashion to C. elegans, approaching and backing away from obstacles or stimulated by food.
With the worm's nose neurons replaced by a sonar sensor and the motor neurons running down both sides of the worm replicated on the left and right motors of the Lego bot, the robot could emulate the worm's biological wiring.
The Open Worm Project chose the C. elegans nematode because of the simplicity of its biological structure. Even though the worm has just 302 neurons, the project is so complex that researchers have limited themselves to those neurons - some 30% in total - that control its behavior.
C. elegans worms were aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when it broke up upon reentry on February 1, 2003. The worms were found alive in a container that was among the debris.
Round worms undergo examination by project scientists on May 1, 2003 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.