Researchers at Harvard University have developed soft, silicone-based robots inspired by natural creatures such as starfish and squid capable of disguising themselves within their background as well as displaying magnificent bold colours. Harvards Stephen Morin stated that ”Such a dynamic coloration system could one day have a host of uses, ranging from helping doctors plan complex surgeries to acting as a visual marker to help search crews following a disaster”.
The silicone-based robots skin is created with molds built using 3-D printers, silicone is poured into the molds creating micro-channels. Researchers then pump coloured liquids into the channels, enabling the robot to mimic the colours and patterns surrounding its environment. What makes these robots even cooler, is the fact that the system’s camouflage capabilities aren’t even limited to visible colours. ”By pumping heated or cooled liquids into the channels, researchers can camouflage the robots thermally (infrared color). Other tests used fluorescent liquids that allowed the color layers to literally glow in the dark.”