SquishBot Soft Shape-Changing 'Chembots'

SquishBots, also known as GummiBots (by me), also known as Chembots (by DARPA) are back in the news today.


(SquishBot from Boston Dynamics)

SquishBot is a program to develop a new class of soft, shape-changing robot. The goal is to design systems that can transform themselves from hard to soft and from soft to hard, upon command. Another goal is to create systems that change their critical dimensions by large amounts, as much as 10x. Such robots will be like soft animals that can squeeze themselves through small openings and into tight places.

As I have written previously, DARPA "...is seeking innovative proposals to develop Chemical Robots (ChemBots): soft, flexible, mobile objects that can identify and maneuver through openings smaller than their static structural dimensions; reconstitute size, shape, and functionality after traversal; carry meaningful payloads; and perform tasks." That's what the program mission statement says, anyway.

Boston Dynamics is working with the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT to create these soft, slide into anywhere robots. The MIT gang thinks of SquishBots as being like slugs with "viscoelastic skeletons" (there's your word for the day) that can have variable degrees-of-freedom based on overall stiffness.


(SQUISHBot from MIT)

SQUISHBot (Soft QUIet Shape-shifting robot) is a soft meso-scale robot that can climb walls, ceilings, and cross rough terrain. The robot is compliant and can morph, allowing it to conform to irregular shapes and squeeze through holes much smaller than its nominal cross-sectional area. The robot’s viscoelastic skeleton can transition from rigid to compliant states; it is comprised of field responsive fluids impregnated within a high-porosity open-cell foam to create viscoelastic solids with highly compliant and user-selectable stiffness. Advanced software controls the stiffness of SQUISHBot’s body to affectively make it a high- or low-degree-of-freedom robot.

Even better (if that's possible), the MIT design team is thinking of having SQUISHBot secrete a very thin film of viscous fluid just like the real-world slugs being biomimicked. A robot that leaves a slime trail; now, we're talking SlimeBot.

Learn about predecessors to the SquishBot like Gummi Bots: Biomimetic Soft-Bodied Robots and Chembots desired by DARPA. Read more on SquishBots at SquishBot - Advanced Chemistry Robot that Inches, Climbs and Deforms [Boston Dynamics] and SQUISHBot Project Page [MIT].

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/21/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 7 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.' - Ray Bradbury, 1950.

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.' - George Lucas, 1976.

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.