Pop It Like A Beach Ball!: Shape Shifting Bot

October 14, 2009

iRobot, a diabolical company best known for convincing millions of housewives to allow rug-munching robots into their homes, has now developed an air-filled shape-shifting robot that will climb into your bed and smother you while you sleep.

Unveiled at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) yesterday, this palm-sized troublemaker is being billed as "the first demonstration of a completely soft, mobile robot using jamming as an enabling technology." The "jamming" in question is something called "jamming skin enabled locomotion," which traps air and a collection of loosely packed particles in a package made of silicon rubber. When air is removed from the pocket, the silicon restricts and seems to solidify. The robot consists of several of these pockets, which can be inflated or deflated separately, giving the device the ability to perform simple actions.

The first part of the video explains how the technology works, but the actual bot-test begins around 1:50. Sure, it may look like a harmless beach ball, but do you know how many people drown each year trying to retrieve beach balls that have been swept out to sea? Now multiply that by every single person on earth and you have an idea of this thing's killing potential.

iRobot shape-shifting ChemBot is back, and it's bad [engadget]

Thanks to JKirchartz, hayden, NF, Michael, Tuggis, matt and We'llmissyoujehudah, who vow to pop every last one of these things with fiery arrows. Good looking, guys, but you might wanna brush up on your archery.

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