Morphing robot demonstrated at IROS


A morphing robot was demonstrated at the IROS conference this week. This orb has no rigid structure but uses some type of “inflation” system for locomotion. This robot concept is offered up by the iRobot company as part of a DARPA initiative they’re working on. The “inflation” is really a substance in the skin that can be converted from a liquid-like state to a solid-like one. They call this “The Jamming Concept” and give a layman’s explanation in the video we’ve embedded after the break.

When moving, this white ball is a churning, turning, bulging mass of terror. The just-about-to-hatch pods from Alien, or perhaps something from Doom 3 come to mind. The hexapod from IROS that we covered yesterday was amazing, but this really creeps us out. What’s more, this is footage from the iRobot prototypes of a year ago.  The newer stuff can do much more, like having several of these things glob together into one unit.

We’re glad that [DarwinSurvior] sent us the tip on this one, but now we’re not going to be able to sleep at night.


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:

    I WANT ONE!!

  2. Oler says:

    looks verry cool.
    No cons whatsoever

  3. goga says:

    This is gonna be big, just wait till the sex industry gets a load off this!

  4. Oler says:

    @goga you are totaly wright

  5. McSquid says:

    wow, both impressive and slightly gross at the same time.

  6. Jack says:

    Lol pretty cool, I don’t know why no one thought of a compartmental balloon that can roll around.

  7. Jeff says:

    I think is more something the sex industry would be interested in…

  8. Matt says:

    Am I the only one that has an almost overwhelming desire to punt the thing?

  9. Arkenklo says:

    Very Skynet. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the future.

  10. m1Ke says:

    This is the first baby steps for the terminator’s T1000 ^^ The end is near!! loool :P

  11. cyc4015 says:

    yeah, the science behind this is awesome, but seeing that thing actually move made me weep.

  12. Cabe says:

    I fear it so….and yet….

    Paint it yellow and give it a face and Keepon’s got some competition.

  13. yamahaeleven says:

    Awesome! The world’s first cornstarch robot!

  14. Tod says:

    @Jeff… Uhh, yeah, ok… First steps toward a porn app. The video on that link you provided is –way– creepy. Though it sure appears this man “loves” his work! ewww

  15. Hirudinea says:

    Impressive technology but if I saw one of those things glooping along my floor I’ed shoot it!

  16. PocketBrain says:

    Is that an icosahedron? My D20 is alive!
    D&D nerds to rule the world through robotics…

  17. vsnine says:

    Anyone know the name of the song in the latter half of the video?

  18. RHF says:


    Look at the video 02:45 time index.

  19. Andy says:


    Nope! :)
    Now if it deformed into the right shape that would make the ‘punting’ that much easier…

  20. _matt says:

    Video was well done, robot was strange.
    I could possibly see a very large version of this as a way to make any terrain walkable, filling in voids or holes and smoothing slopes of large rocks and what have you.

  21. grovenstien says:

    Stamp on it before it destroys us all!

  22. KillaCam says:

    Isn’t that the same stuff in ‘Stretch-Armstrong’ toys?

  23. teck monkey says:

    cool would love to see this incorprated in to a hexapod…oh another idea artificial type of pacemaker/heart?

  24. Great thanks!

  25. vash says:

    no need for robitic organs wean we can grow our own anyways…

    i want one,
    I want one,
    i want 7! :-D

  26. @Hirudinea

    That’s what they want. It creeps in, you shoot it, they’re not liable when it sprays deadly fumes/liquid all over the room your in… you’ve gotta think of these things.

  27. Chris_C says:

    Metroid comes to (real) life!!!

  28. 0x808080 says:

    Very interesting watching that thing roll around while it repeatedly deflates and becomes engorged

  29. niccohel says:


  30. LuciusMare says:

    Holy… This thing really scares me, if i would see it rolling and morphing towards me, i would probably run away. Although, cool it is.

  31. echodelta says:

    It looks like pressure is having to do the work here.
    the thing is puffing out. NASA tried this back in the moon race days as a robot rover. Wheels won.

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