Watch an indestructible walking robot survive fire, ice and a car

indestructible robotThat’s it. Game over. First there’s walking robots who can understand who’s talking and respond in two languages, then robotic war dogs and even kangeroos. There’s even been terminator-style robot soldiers and prison guards. There’s robot spy birds and even hummingbirds! Now some big brains have created an indestructible robot. Is humanity finished?

So, a robot that can accurately fire a bow and arrow wasn’t enough huh? This could well be the strangest and most resilient robot that I’ve ever seen.

This tough bot can survive a snowstorm, walk through flames and get run over by car and continue to squelch forwards like something from SpongeBob Squarepants.

The as-yet-unnamed robot, which was created by a Harvard University researcher named Michael Tolley and his team, has no rigid skeleton so nothing to break there.

New Scientist saw it in action:

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.

It has a battery pack that can keep it going for over two hours, and its pneumatic motion is powered by an air compressor system.

This squishy robo-creature is the starting point for research into potentially more effective search and rescue missions, where a flexible body can better navigate through tight spaces.

Tolley’s team sees this as the beginning of a new generation of soft robots that can jump, slither and grasp delicate objects. Is it just me, or is this the stuff of silent, slithering, nightmares?

Further improvements down the line will improve the robot’s speed and mobility. It will be programmed to respond to obstacles — and it might even get its own, squishy feet one day.

Yup. We’re doomed.

Enjoy the video while you can…

[youtube id=”-Ww9VtkZ8Pw”]