This weird looking bot is the creation of Michael Tolley and his team, Harvard University. The robot is 65cm long and completely squishy, with no rigid skeleton. It can run for up to 2 hours with the battery pack mounted on its back, which powers an air compressor. The motion is pneumatically driven.
It can walk through snowstorm with temperatures reaching -9 degrees C, withstand flames for 20 seconds, resist water and acids as well as having its limbs driven over by a car. Tolley and his colleagues plan to improve the speed and mobility of the robot, for example by adding feet, as well as programming it to respond to obstacles or navigate towards a goal.
Cecilia Laschi of the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, who is developing a rubbery robotic octopus that can search the seabed, is impressed with the soft robot. Cecilia says:
This is a good example of how soft robotics can help build very robust devices, with very low risk of damage. The field of soft robotics is now becoming mature enough to show effective applications.