Army Building “Self-Aware” Squid-Like Robot That Can Be “3-D Printed” During Combat

by | Apr 24, 2018 | Headline News | 10 comments

This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

The Army Research Laboratory’s next robot weapon isn’t a new predator drone or even a robot dog like the infamous prototype developed by Boston Labs.

Instead, it’s a “self-aware” robot built from flexible materials inspired by invertebrates like squid, the Army Times reports.

But in addition to its advance machine-learning capabilities, the material used to build the robots is so lightweight and malleable that soldiers will be able to “print” the robots on the battlefield, the control them with controllers that send electric currents through the materials.

In case you weren’t already terrified of robots that can jump over walls, fly or crawl, Army researchers are developing your next nightmare – a flexible, soft robot inspired by squid and other invertebrates.

And they want soldiers to be able to use 3D printers to make them on the battlefield.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the University of Minnesota are developing materials that can be 3D printed based on the flexibility and nimbleness of invertebrates such as a squid, according to an ARL release.

Researchers were inspired to design the new type of robot after testing material that would bend in any direction when hit with electricity.

Traditional materials are too rigid and limit certain types of movement that robots might require to get into “confined or restricted spaces,” said Ed Habtour, an ARL researcher.

The prototypes that Habtour and fellow ARL researchers developed gave 3D-printed actuators three times the movement as what’s been tested before.

The material that they’ve used in their testing will bend in any direction when hit with electricity.

“In the initial phase of the project, our team began by investigating new methods for emulating the locomotion of invertebrates,” said Michael McAlpine, a professor at the University of Minnesota.

That helped researchers learn how to apply the natural movement of invertebrates like squids to produce “high bending motions without skeletal support,” McAlpine said.

As scientists continue to study the material, the head researchers say they will be able to build robots that are “dynamic”, “self-aware” and able to adjust to battlefield conditions.

Because the material doesn’t have to be dried, heated or assembled, it would require little training and could be used for printable robots that soldiers could make and use whenever and wherever they’re needed.

“If we can understand these interactions, then we can use those insights to fabricate dynamic structures and flexible robots which are designed to be self-aware, self-sensing and capable of adjusting their morphologies and properties in real time to adapt to a myriad of external and internal conditions,” Habtour said.

While the Army is building squid-like robots that can squeeze into confined spaces – whether it’s to search for explosives or rescue or treat wounded soldiers – Amazon is working on a “top secret” robotics project of its own: Building what it hopes will be the first domestic robot to break into the mainstream.

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    1. 7.62

      Self aware, bullshit.

      • Taint Boil

        Yeah, complete bullshit ….. and where is the picture? What ever ….

    2. CH3CH2OH

      It would be nice to read a prepping article on this site once in awhile.

      • NEC_Wrangler


        and thats an octopus.

    3. Heartless

      Cool. Calamari!!! for the battlefield. My goodness, what will they think of next? I like mine soaked overnight in buttermilk and fried to a golden-brown in rings.

    4. SarcasticallyOptimistic

      ‘Army Building “Self-Aware” Squid-Like Robot That Can Be “3-D Printed” During Combat’

      ….and freakin’ dolphins with laser beams

    5. Brian

      There are a whole product line of 3D printers out there. Some of them can build incredible things out of metal powders and plastics. The higher-priced printers are usually based on lasers and can be programmed to do multiple steps. In a SHTF situation, certain items disappear off the shelves in a hurry. With a backup power supply, the right materials, and the right computer files, the printers could produce some of the critical items needed to recover from SHTF.

    6. Justina

      squid type monster creeps into confined space to rescue and/or treat a wounded soldier. soldier freaks out at the sight of it and blows it away.

      • the blame-e

        Imagine one of the those robot squidies sliding their slimy tentacles into a sucking chest wound.

        What could possibly go wrong, except maybe a bunch of baby sucking chest wounds 9-months later.

    7. the blame-e

      I hear the robot calamari is quite tasty when served with fava beans and a good chianti.

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