Camouflage, Shape-Shifting Robot Can Disappear Into Its Environment

What’s soft, squishy and can blend into its surroundings? A new robot made of silicon rubber created by researchers at Harvard University.

Different colour dyes that are pumped into the robot through a series of plastic tubes allows the device to change colours, so it can either disappear into or stand out from its environment.

Air pumped into a network of tiny channels in the robot’s four legs allows it to crawl and bend.    

Scientists can also change the temperature of dyes so the flexible bot shows up in infared. 

The camouflage ability would be useful for machines that operate in public to do their job without standing out, says researcher Steve Morin. It would also help researchers learn more about how animals use camouflage in nature. 

The findings were published in the Aug. 17 issue of the journal Science

In the video below, the flexible robot is shown blending into a field of rocks and turning fluorescent to stand out from a patch of leaves.  

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