Madison Ruppert/Activist Post
It seems that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has taken a major step forward in creating an astoundingly cheap and quite small robot that “can change the color, contrast, pattern, apparent shape, luminescence, and surface temperature of soft machines for camouflage and display,” according to a report published in Science.
Along with the DARPA-funded miniature spy computer known as the Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors (F-BOMB), this robot very well could be produced for less than $100 per unit with costs going down even further over time.
The robot, which is part of the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, is around the size of an average person’s palm and can be seen in motion in the below video provided by DARPA:
It utilizes microfluidic networks to create the astounding changes which even “can be changed simultaneously in the visible and infrared — a capability that organisms do not have. These strategies begin to imitate the functions, although not the anatomies, of color-changing animals,” according to Science.
The research is being performed at Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering under Drs. George Whitesides and Stephen Morin while the funding is coming from DARPA.
The researchers have demonstrated that microfluidic channels can be used in soft robots for a range of functions from camouflage to display, actuation to fluid transport and temperature regulation.