A robot that can change colour to either blend in with or stand out from its surroundings has been created by scientists.
Like these cephalopods, the robot has a soft, rubbery body and can move with flexibility.
Professor George Whitesides, an author of the paper, said: “Conventional robotics is a pretty highly developed area, and if you look at various robots you find that most are basically built on the body plan of a mammal.
“Our question is: Why do you have to do that? Why not think about organisms that are soft, that might have quite different structures and ways of moving and strategies for camouflage. And the obvious place to look is underwater.”
In 2011, the research team published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that outlined details of a “soft robot” that could crawl and bend under obstacles.
The machine was made from silicon-based polymers, and its movement was driven by air pumping through tiny cylinders in its four “legs”.
Now the scientists have added another layer of complexity to these robots by giving them the ability to disguise themselves.
The camouflage-bots are covered in a network of tiny channels. As different dyes are pumped in, the robots can quickly change their appearance.
As well as changing colour, hot or cold fluids can be pumped into robots, enabling them to be thermally camouflaged, and fluorescent liquids allow them to glow in the dark.
Currently, the fluid is pulled in from a reservoir, but in the future it could be incorporated into the robot’s body.
Search and rescue
The team thinks the devices could have a variety of different uses.
The Latest Streaming News: Camouflage bendy robot updated minute-by-minute
Bookmark this page and come back often