Soft robotics study: Robot can withstand fire, ice, and crushing force. (VIDEO.)

Fire, Ice, and Crushing Force Are No Match for This Unstoppable Robot

Fire, Ice, and Crushing Force Are No Match for This Unstoppable Robot

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Sept. 11 2014 12:04 PM

Fire, Ice, and Crushing Force Are No Match for This Unstoppable Robot

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As if the completely technologically-dependent existence that is our current lives wasn't enough—a world in which the option to employ robotic butlers is, apparently, an imminent (if not optimal) reality—there are now robots with the ability to withstand the harshest of environmental conditions.

As the video above shows, engineers from Cornell and Harvard Universities have developed a "soft" robot that is capable of manuevering its shape-changing body through water, snow, and fire. Additionally, the four-legged bot can also withstand the pressure of being driven over by an automobile. The robot—whose creators hope will have practical applications for search and rescue missions—is also "capable of functioning for several hours using a battery pack or for longer periods with a light-weight electrical tether, and able to carry payloads of up to 8 kg," per a press release from the team.  

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The science behind the breakthrough, along with a detailed overview of the robot's capabilities, will be discussed in full in an upcoming issue of Soft Robotics. According to the journal's editor-in-chief, Barry A. Trimmer, the "paper marks the emergence of soft robot technology from the research lab into the real world."

For your viewing pleasure, two more videos of the unstoppable robot in action can be seen below.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

A.J. McCarthy is a speechwriter for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and a former Slate writer and producer.