TECHNOLOGY NEWS
August 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM
  Follow @ Twitter

Scientists in the United States on Thursday said they had devised a rubbery robot, inspired by the squid and octopus, which can crawl, camouflage itself and hide from infrared cameras.

The Pentagon-backed gadget is the latest type of a so-called soft machine, meaning silicone-based robots that are made from squidgy, translucent polymers.

The prototype incorporates a thin sheet of special silicone with microscopic channels through which coloured fluids are pumped so that the robot's "skin" mimicks the colours and patterns of the surrounding environment.

By pumping heated or cooled liquids into the microchannels, the researchers can also mask the robot thermally so that its infrared signature does not stand out against a cold or hot background.

The prototype is a four-legged entity, 13 centimetres (5.2 inches) long.

Its limbs are splayed out in the form of an X and, using compressed air, flex like a child's toy, enabling the little machine to crawl forward with a lurching left-right movement.

"When we began working on soft robots, we were inspired by soft organisms, including octopi and squid," Stephen Morin, a specialist in chemical biology at Harvard University, said in a press release.

"One of the fascinating characteristics of these animals is their ability to control their appearance, and that inspired us to take this idea further and explore dynamic colouration."

Morin added: "Even when using simple systems -- in this case we have simple, open-ended micro-channels -- you can achieve a great deal in terms of your ability to camouflage an object, or to display where an object is."

The research is published in the US journal Science.

Its financial backers were the US Department of Energy and the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which supports research into innovative technology with military potential.

AFP


PREVIOUS STORY
IBM buys flash memory firm
NEXT STORY
New world record set at mobile-phone throwing contest

Bookmark and Share
   




FIJI NEWS
Fiji vies for UN seatFiji is one of two countries in the Asia pacific region vying for a non-permanent Security Council seat in the United Nations, the UN Tribune reports.
SPORTS
Blues beat Auckland, march into quartersDefending champion Lautoka defeated Auckland 3-0 in its final Pool 1 match of the 2014 TISI Sangam Inter District Championship (IDC) at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka this afternoon to seal its place in tomorrow's quarterfinals.
HEALTH/FITNESS
Clean-up day to curb dengue outbreakFiji's Ministry of Health has declared a clean-up day next Thursday for residents in the central division as it ups the tempo against a dengue fever outbreak currently experienced in the country.
LIFESTYLE/FASHION
Blake chase Ms World for FijiMiss World Fiji Director Andhy Blake is adamant to select the best contestants with a view to win Fiji the coveted Miss World crown.
ENTERTAINMENT
Sam Smithís debut In The Lonely Hour out in MayBRIT and BBC Sound Poll winner Sam Smithís debut album In The Lonely Hour is out on May 23.
OFFBEAT
Mercury 'took Princess Diana to gay barQueen singer Freddie Mercury disguised the late Princess Diana as a male model and smuggled her into a notorious gay bar, according to a memoir serialised in Britain's Sunday Times.
NEWS SPORTS INFOTAINMENT SERVICES MOBILE EXTRA HOT TOPICS