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
Scientists recently captured a rare video of an oarfish, but what's the real significance of the underwater footage?
Skywatchers can witness the biggest supermoon of 2013 and several other lunar events this week.
Police are still looking for environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval's murderers, while the episode has more Costa Ricans talking about the links between poaching and drug trafficking.
Celebrating 125 Years
Connect With Nat Geo
Special Ad Section
Shop National Geographic
Great Energy Challenge Blog
- Study Says: Hey, You, Get Onto the Cloud (It Saves Energy)
- Who Will Swelter This Summer? The Pressures on the Nation’s Power Grid
- Tar Sands Tour: Boomtown, Scarecrows, and Spin; “We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us”
- Climate Change: China, U.S. Bring Toy Fire Truck to Seven-Alarm Fire
- Student Infographic Contest Paints Bright Picture of Youth Concern on Energy and Climate