First Ever 'Soft' Robot Is Frighteningly Cool

Robotics seem like a great idea, but there's always that Terminator scenario in the back of our minds. "What if the machines really do become self-aware?", we ask silently while grinding our teeth to avoid bawling like scared children. If the machines someday do push us to the brink of extinction, it might be this one that ultimately seals our fate.

Harvard University researchers have created a robot that can withstand elements such as fire, snow, and outright being crushed. In it's current form, it's like a half-dead (half-alive?) zombie crawling around. Maybe a more optimistic way is to say it's taking baby steps, but I'm scared of it, so no.

Made primarily of a silicon material, the robot houses the needed electronics on its back for movement. The point of the robot was to challenge the notion that a robot needs to be rigid and metal. With Google's Boston Robotics purchase, we see the antithesis of what this flexible bot is. In Mountain View, Google is concentrating on robots that are fast, can jump, and possibly even carry loads of gear on their back.

There are plenty of neat applications for this robot. Research in extreme temperatures, exploring tight cave structures, and even rescue missions. Housing components like the processor and battery under silicon present a myriad of ways this would become useful, and virtually indestructible.

Still, it's scary. A nearly indestructible robot? We'd have nowhere to hid! At least humans are still in control of this one, right? Right?

For a look at what really is a pretty cool concept, check out the video below. It will be interesting to see where the team at Harvard takes it from here. If they get that thing bipedal, though, I'm checking out and going full-on 'Walden'.

Via: Huffington Post