Nearly Indestructible Inflatable Robot Crawls Its Way Into Your Nightmares
Metroid had it right. Crawling robots are a no-no.
Never before has a pink, squishy, crawling robot filled you with so much nope. Now I know why they gave Samus the morph ball instead of making her crawl—they didn’t want to scare the children.
“But why? Oh God, why?” You ask? Why would someone build a fleshy robot that slither-crawls towards you with all the charm of something out of a Silent Hill game? Well, robots with rigid bodies
just weren’t scary enough are relatively fragile and don’t fit into tight spaces very well.
Built by Michael Tolley, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and his team at Harvard University, this as-yet-unnamed bot can be run over by a car, withstand extreme heat and cold, and still keep dragging itself after you like Chuckie at the end of Child’s Play 2. Know your enemy, thanks to New Scientist:
In experiments, Tolley’s robot was able to walk through a snowstorm with temperatures reaching -9 °C, withstand flames for 20 seconds, resist water and acids as well as having its limbs driven over by a car. Since the electrical components of the prototype are exposed, it was only the resilience of the body that was tested. But Tolley claims that embedding the electronics in the soft body could be a quick fix.
Of course, while its pink, fleshy exterior, zombie-like dragging, and the music in that video don’t help, the little robot’s air compressor-powered form is meant to explore how non-rigid bots could help rescue missions. Maybe it wouldn’t be so terrifying with different music? Here, mute it and play it along with the theme music from a Muppet it strongly resembles. It’s actually kind of hilarious that way:
It also doesn’t help that the thing vaguely looks like a baby and the entire video features it surviving different methods of torture. You can almost hear it gasp, “Help me,” as it drags itself forward. Sweet dreams.
- NASA has basically built SimAnt bots
- Here’s a swarm of tiny robots that are flocking this way
- Macgyver robots manage to problem-solve using their environment despite lacking mullets
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