Inspired by the camouflage skills of octopuses and squid, scientists have created a rubbery, silicon robot that can change colors to hide in almost any environment, reports the BBC. While most robots "are basically built on the body plan of a mammal," said George Whitesides, the paper's author, his team looked to cephalopods instead. "Why not think about organisms that are soft, that might have quite different structures and ways of moving and strategies for camouflage."
The camouflage works through a network of tiny channels that cover the robot, allowing it to quickly take in dyes and other liquids. In fact, by pulling in hot or cold liquids, the robot can hide thermally, too. At the moment, the liquids have to be pumped in from an outside source, but researchers say colored liquids could someday be incorporated into the robot. You can read an abstract of the original article at Science. (Read more robot stories.)