Camouflaging Soft Robots

 Scientists at Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology have further refined their designs for their “soft robots”, which now include the ability to “camouflage themselves against a background or make bold color displays.”

Peter Reuell reports that this new achievement makes the robots ideal for many applications including “search and rescue operations following a disaster.”  

Another aspect of these “soft robots” that is important to researchers (and DARPA) is their ability to be manufactured cheaply.   By using a 3D printer to manufacture the robot’s silicon body and color changing “skin”, the cost of these machines is somewhere near $100. 

Stephen Morin the designer of the robot’s color changing skin agreed, saying “This characteristic presents the opportunity to make many robots, at low cost, so that you don’t feel bad about losing one.”