In August, US scientist introduced us to their 3D-printed autonomous ‘Octobot’, an entirely soft and squidgy robot octopus which is made of a gel-like substance and doesn’t require a solid battery to operate.
The synthetic cephalopod moves using its eight arms, which are driven by small pistons powered by the release of oxygen, created as a product of the chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide (bleach) and platinum catalysts within its bendy body. Soft robots can operate in environments which are inaccessible to their rigid robot peers, but previous models were limited by the need for hard batteries as a power source, say the scientists.
If the prospect of an autonomous robotic Cthulhu terrifies the hell out of you, you needn’t worry too much – the robot’s catalytic power source lasts a maximum of eight minutes, so the human race is safe…for now.
Science isn’t always serious. The Weird Science series, collated by the Australian Science Media Centre, serves up the most quirky, curious and downright bizarre science stories of 2016.