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 ")

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'- Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

 

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

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'

Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'

BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'

AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

'Agression Detectors' Don't Work When Spying On Students
'The professional agitators had also learned how to modulate their voices below the danger level...'

Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'

CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'

Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...'

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.