The camouflage takes inspiration from octopuses, and involves a silicone ‘skin’ placed over a fiber mesh that is designed to mimic muscle. The mesh is then cut away to allow the silicone, once dried, to expand into a 3D shape and texture that allows the soft robot to appear like a rock or plant, according to the report.
A study of the new technology was published recently in the journal Science.
Researchers in the study were able to paint one such skin grey to resemble a rock like pattern, and another green and shaped like a rosette to resemble a succulent.
Study authors estimate that the technology could be used to hide robots designed to spy on animals, perform research or for use in military applications.
Currently, the technology can only be used for a single preplanned haps, but researchers hope to be able to create “shifting patterns” by adjusting stiffness of the mesh to change the shape of the silicone forms, according to The Verge.