iRobot, makers of robots with such varied talents as vacuuming floors and defusing roadside bombs, has released a video of its latest R&D effort: the Blob ’Bot.
The Blob ’Bot is a soft shape-shifting robot that rolls around by changing shape and will even be able to fit through small cracks. The video does an excellent job of explaining the mechanical principles that underlie the technology (if you’re so inclined), but if you just want to see the thing in action, fast forward to the 1:50 mark. The blob concept is interesting because it is an entirely new approach to locomotion in general and a radical departure from your standard robotic platforms, which until now have relied on giving robots legs, wheels or wings.
Beyond the obvious military and search and rescue uses, what applications could you envision for this technology?