Pentagon Unveils New Gelatinous Chemical Robot

20 October 2009 (Last Updated October 20th, 2009 18:30)

A new shapeshifting chemical robot being developed for Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army has been unveiled by Pentagon researchers. ChemBot is a small mobile device that looks like a gelatinous blob, it can change shape to navigate through tight spaces an

A new shapeshifting chemical robot being developed for Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army has been unveiled by Pentagon researchers.

ChemBot is a small mobile device that looks like a gelatinous blob, it can change shape to navigate through tight spaces and will be used by the army for intelligence gathering, and search and rescue missions.

The chemical robot moves from place to place by way of a process called 'jamming' which causes the material to transition between semi-liquid and semi-solid states with only a slight change in volume.

Jamming technology allows the scientists to make the ChemBot grow or shrink and roll it around with accurate control, and even manipulate it to pass through cracks in walls and reform on the other side.

The proof-of-concept prototypes, created by iRobot, could pass separately through cracks in a wall, join together on the other side and reconstitute into a larger whole.

DARPA awarded $3.3m to iRobot for the creation of ChemBot.