Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Flexible Robot Can Change Colors

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the kill-all-humans-now-comes-in-green dept.

Robotics 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.'"

cancel ×

42 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Skynet (1)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024365)

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)

Re:Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024489)

Re:Skynet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024525)

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)

Did you see.the picture in the article? I think we're safe, unless you're very scared of the damage that "ladybug terminators" can do.

Re:Skynet (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024915)

I'd also like to know how a tethered end-effector qualifies as a robot. To my way of thinking, that's just a tool, more advanced than a wrench perhaps, but A robot is a mechanical device that can perform tasks automatically. Directing every movement via a tether seems a bit of a stretch.

Adding color seems a pointless exercise when a all you have to do is follow the cord to find out where it is.

Minority Report (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 2 years ago | (#41026927)

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.

Re:Skynet (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#41029375)

I always kind of liked a good game of doom with a beer on friday night..

Military (1)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024395)

Come on, we all know this is just active camouflage for the military.

Re:Military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024423)

'Oh, public release of obsolete military tech.' was my first thought.

Agreed that this doesn't sound very likely for making something MORE discernable.

Re:Military (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41025127)

'Oh, public release of obsolete military tech.' was my first thought.

Agreed that this doesn't sound very likely for making something MORE discernable.

Oh come on.
What military do you know that uses little slow crawling 12 centimeter devices tethered by a cord with no internal power supply? What would be the use case for that?

The military's adoption of robot tech is limited to rather robust bomb/IED disposal roles and aerial surveillance/attack roles, all of which carry on board power supplies and are radio controlled, and big enough to at least carry a camera.

This isn't obsolete, its not even developed to the point of being useful yet.

Re:Military (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 2 years ago | (#41025933)

After the military funds propel the development forward a bit, then the color-changing sex toys will hit the market.

Can I fap in peace please? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024467)

Now I even have to worry about having a robot camouflaged on my enlarge penis device that I can't see at all.

I ate it. Oops. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024477)

I was sitting in a pub and it made itself look like a pretzel.

Does it turn blue? (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024481)

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

Re:Does it turn blue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41025641)

Is it bigger on the inside?

Pornbot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024487)

Am I the only one thinking that the description would fit another type of bot quite well? Maybe Bot Naked woudl be a good alternative name...

bah! fembots are passe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41025427)

flexible?
changes colors?

If it moves like an octopus and and looks like an octopus, it much be hentai time!!!

Uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024503)

"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"

Is he sure that he's talking about a surgical problem?

Politics (?) (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024505)

"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!

News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024519)

The most worrying part 'bout this is that I've read that story in a German newspaper this very morning. I've always believed that a printed rural newspaper could be faster than Slashdot ...

Required: (1)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024539)

I,for one, welcome our new robo-chameleon overlords.

Re:Required: (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41030245)

Call me when the cordless version is available.

Hm (1)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024545)

Did anyone else feel like they basically were like, ok hold up! And then someone came out and painted the robot?

Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024617)

I wonder if the machine that's pumping the air and dye is as easily camouflaged.

Re:Robot? (1)

MrYingster (594507) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024843)

My thoughts exactly. Sure, the part that we see is moving and blending in to its environment, but if the whole system can't be self contained and camouflaged as well, it's rather pointless. However, this is just a tech demo, so maybe we'll see truly autonomous robots that can blend in and hide from their human masters in a few years...

Re:Robot? (1)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 2 years ago | (#41025615)

FTA: "Currently, the fluid is pulled in from a reservoir, but in the future it could be incorporated into the robot's body."

Most pathetic robot of all time? (2)

georgeaperkins (1715602) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024619)

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?

Re:Most pathetic robot of all time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41024665)

you are write this is one pathetic robot.

Re:Most pathetic robot of all time? (3)

Myridon (719720) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024715)

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.

Re:Most pathetic robot of all time? (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41024855)

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.

What is a robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41025133)

robot /rbät/ Noun 1. A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. 2. (esp. in science fiction) A machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions. Synonyms automaton
  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_robots

http://www.youtube.com/watch?nomobile=1&v=h_QDuYuqu9I

http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/definition/robot

Not even feasible! (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#41025173)

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 stupid.

Re:Not even feasible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41029685)

I agree, it doesn't walk well, at all, and what's the point of pumping it full of coloured ink? Totally rubbish, and pointless.

But trust the Leftwing nutcases at the BBC to feature this piece of shit. Idiots.

Oh, yeah, wow (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41025697)

I can change colour too, if I carry a bucket of paint with me and stop to dip my head in it.

Re:Oh, yeah, wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41027169)

I refuse to believe that without a video on YouTube.

Oh, so like a cuttlefish (1)

taktoa (1995544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41027269)

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqaKxm6rMUs#t=158s [youtube.com]

should change the title: (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41028285)

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.

Re:should change the title: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41030047)

I was amazed this guy got any coverage before they injected it with colored liquid. It is a remotely inflated piece of rubber moved by hydro-static pressure. It's not novel, unique, revolutionary, or any of those other words that people are desperately searching for funding use. I was much more impressed by the giant blow up version of this technology, because you can ride it: http://hackaday.com/tag/inflatable-robot/

You /.'ers are brutal! (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031441)

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.

L.A. Times writeup... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#41031673)

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 interested in creating a robot that was soft, rather than hard and breakable like most of the robots we know. And so they looked to the sea. This robot's design was inspired by invertebrates like squid and starfish and other animals with no hard skeletons. The squishy robot moves by having air pumped through small cylinders in its body, and is flexible enough to squeeze through a glass plate elevated just 2 centimeters above the ground in under a minute, according to a report in the BBC. To make this robot even more like the underwater creatures that inspired its design, Stephen Morin lead a team that added thin, flexible network of tubes just under the robot's "skin." Scientists pump different color dyes into the network of tubes, thereby changing the color of the robot. They can even create intricate patterns, and if they use a chemo-luminescent dye, make the the robot glow in the dark. The temperature of the fluids can also be controlled, so that the robot can be camouflaged in the infared spectrum too. The Journal Science has a wonderful video that shows the color changing robot in action, (plus awesome footage of a camouflaging octopus). That's all very neat, but is it practical? Well, it could be. For example, if you were trapped in a collapsed building, one of these squishy robots could be sent squeezing itself in. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-camouflage-robot-20120817,0,308264.story [latimes.com]

Big Deal... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#41034899)

"can change colors to blend into its surroundings"

Remote controls have been doing that since invention.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?