MIT Researchers Building 3D-Printed Robot Skin Borrow from Golden Tortoise Beetle Camouflage Process

Published by , April 11, 2017 7:18 am

(TechCrunch) A team of MIT researchers working to build a 3D-printed robot drew inspiration from the golden tortoise beetle — a North America beetle species with a unique form of camouflage. The beetle’s shiny gold coloring drains from its shell when it is threatened, transforming into a translucent reddish-brown. The self-preserving trait served as an inspiration for the MIT scientists as they worked to build a 3D-printed flexible membrane that might one day serve as the basis for robotic skin, bringing various sensors to the exterior of the machine.
The team borrowed from the simple defensive trait as a proof of concept, building the optic-changing property into a flexible printed substrate. The team believes the technology could prove an important step toward created a fully 3D-printed robot packed with sensors.

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