The new robot, filled with air and glowing fluid. S.A. Morin, Harvard University and Science/AAAS.
Published August 17, 2012
A new soft, quivering robot walks when inflated and changes color when colored fluid—including glow-in-the-dark liquid—is pumped into its "body."
- Robot Code of Ethics to Prevent Android Abuse, Protect Humans
- Pictures: "'Ghost' Robot Lets User Cuddle, Chat Remotely
- Animal-Robot Pictures: Marine Machines Made in Nature's Image
- Pictures: Humanoid Robots in National Geographic Magazine
Researchers at Harvard University have made a soft, flexible robot that can actually change colors, enabling its use in places where machines shouldn't be noticed.
Here, a robot is walked onto a layer of rocks, and a dye is activated to change its color, so that it blends in to its surroundings.
The robot is made of silicon rubber. Plastic tubing connects it to a control system, and the dye is transferred through the tubes.
The robot moves as air is forced through a network of tiny channels inside the robot.
Here, the robot walks onto colored leaves. And in this case, a fluorescent dye is pumped through the robot to make it stand out, and it's easier to find.
A chemo-luminescent dye can be used to make the robot glow in the dark, similar to animals like fireflies.
The temperatures of the dyes can be changed, too, so the robot can change color in the infrared spectrum.
Some snakes, for example, can sense infrared light using specialized organs.
The robot can be adapted for use in animal-behavior research or public display situations when invisibility helps lead to the best results.
This development appears in the August 17th issue of Science magazine.
video credit: 2012 National Geographic; video courtesy: S.A. Morin, Harvard University and Science/AAAS
How to Feed Our Growing Planet
National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.
The Innovators Project
Abdel Kader Haidara had made it his life's work to document Mali's illustrious past. When the jihadists came, he led the rescue operation to save 350,000 manuscripts.
A new study is "a game changer in the way we do comparative psychology." By Ed Yong.
Latest News Video
Persecuted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei opened a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum on April 18. See why he couldn't attend his own show.