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Robotics Hardware

Flexible Robot Can Change Colors 42

SternisheFan tips news of a robot designed by Harvard University researchers that can change colors to blend into its surroundings (abstract). The robot also has a soft, flexible body, and is driven by air pumped into cavities in its legs. "The team thinks the devices could have a variety of different uses. Lead author Stephen Morin said the soft machines had similarities with organs or tissues and could have medical applications. He explained: 'The idea is that if you have a system that can simulate muscle motion very well and a system that can transport fluid, by combining those you can fabricate that device to fit a specific surgical problem.' The team also said the machines could have a future in search and rescue. Prof Whitesides said: 'For that kind of application, having it be able to advertise itself, for example, in a way that stood out against the dark would be a good thing.'"
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Flexible Robot Can Change Colors

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  • Potentially terminator now has cloaking. We are so doomed! Or at least those who live in the future are doomed. Since that doesn't presently include me, I think I shall enjoy a friday night beer and no doom:O)
    • I'd pick that movie. It had cheap throwaway spiderlike robots that were launched in large amounts in an apartment buildig. They could squeeze through tiny openings and reach any place and this allowed them to search a whole building.

      The robots in this article are just proof of concept of course. So easy to dismiss, as you can see by all the "nothing new, it's been done" posts on here - or anywhere for that matter.

    • I always kind of liked a good game of doom with a beer on friday night..
  • Come on, we all know this is just active camouflage for the military.
    • After the military funds propel the development forward a bit, then the color-changing sex toys will hit the market.
  • I was sitting in a pub and it made itself look like a pretzel.

  • by ( 142825 ) on Friday August 17, 2012 @11:49AM (#41024481) Homepage

    Does it turn blue and look like a police call box?

  • "The team thinks the devices could have a variety of different uses" - with a few adjustments and a teleprompter app, they could take over the government!
  • I,for one, welcome our new robo-chameleon overlords.
  • Did anyone else feel like they basically were like, ok hold up! And then someone came out and painted the robot?
  • This really is be the most pathetic robot I've ever seen. Seeing it hobble along like the adams family hand - I waited expectantly. Then, it fell pathetically before having ink flow through a tube like life support. Laughable! They might as well have walked up to it and painted it. Makes ASIMO's stair fails look slick. Can anyone share with me some more pathetic robots to brighten my Friday afternoon?
    • by Myridon ( 719720 )
      They keep using this word "robot". I think it does not mean what they think it means. It seems to be, at best, a sort of hydraulic/pneumatic marionette. If its pneumatic cricket conscience can help it wish upon a star, perhaps the Blue Fairy will turn it into a real robot.
    • Quite funny! But perhaps you are proving their worth. As I proposed above, I foresee a place in politics for these rascals. The colors are already correct, and as you mentioned, they are "pathetically" immobile and unimpressive, not to mention robotic. They're bulbous at the center, and groveling on hands and knees too. But for the sake of your Friday afternoon, I can oblige you. Simply activate your television.
  • First, the bot is clear, with tubes in it. You 'change colors' by running a colored fluid thought the tubes. So now you have to tether the bot to whatever is mixing and pumping the pigment for the fluid. And wires in the case of camouflage to send back what color you're trying to match. If you just gave it LEDs and an radio, you'd have something wireless, tubeless and not needing to carry fluid (which is heavy)

    These are the ideas I have every day that I don't even bother to pursue because they are just so

  • I can change colour too, if I carry a bucket of paint with me and stop to dip my head in it.
  • I've kept a pet cuttlefish for the last year or so in my aquarium - they have the ability to change their color and texture on demand. Video evidence here: []

  • Clear tube can take on any color when it is filled with liquid of that color.

    Calling it a robot that changes colors seems a bit outlandish.

  • I submitted this story, found it on googlenews this morning, and hands down, Georgeaperkins had the funniest post here! Since the video's in flash I didn't get to see it right away (android phone), when I finally saw it, yep, major letdown. It's basically an inflatable shrinky-dink, but give it 20 years and millions in development money.... jeez, it'll still suck mightily! Reminds me of a squeezeball toy frog I had as a kid.
  • 2 ,12:38 p.m. Researchers at Harvard University have created a robot that can change color in seconds, allowing it to blend seamlessly into a background like a chameleon, or stand out so that it is easy to see. It can even glow in the dark, and change its temperature. These are just the latest additions to a family of rubbery, bendable robots first described in a 2011 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the Whiteside Group, a Harvard-based research group. The group was
  • "can change colors to blend into its surroundings"

    Remote controls have been doing that since invention.

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.