US engineers have built the first ever self-contained, completely soft robot – in the shape of a small octopus.
Made from silicone gels, the “octobot” is powered by a chemical reaction that pushes gas through chambers in its rubbery legs.
Because of this design, the robot does not need batteries or wires – and contains no rigid components at all.
However, the octobot can’t yet walk, instead it sits in one place and pumps alternating legs up and down in a very slow, eight-legged can-can.
But because that dance is powered purely by the robot’s internal chemical system, the Harvard researchers say their system marks a key step forward for soft robotics.