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Video: The Pentagon’s shape-shifting robot

The Future?At the moment the tiny robot – a sheet just half a millimetre thick, scarcely thicker than a piece of paper – only folds itself into a boat, like a child’s toy, or a “paper glider” plane shape. But it is anticipated that in future it will be used to create full-sized cars and aircraft that morph as they move, or robots that can “flow” like mercury into small openings, or multipurpose military uniforms that can adapt to different environments.

It is hoped that, in the not too distant future, a soldier (or engineer) can carry a can, like a paint can, in his or her vehicle, filled with shape-shifting particles of varying size. By telling the particles via computer what shape they need – for example, a specific size spanner – he or she can make the particles form that shape.

Further down the line it could create clothing that can keep its wearer cool by day and warm by night, or aircraft’s wings that can change aerodynamic shape in flight. - [source] [video source]

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