Watch this cuttlefish-inspired ‘skin’ morph into a 3-D shape | Science News

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Watch this cuttlefish-inspired ‘skin’ morph into a 3-D shape

New silicone material could one day help camouflage robots

2:05pm, October 12, 2017
Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama)

STEALTHY SKINS Human-made shape-shifting material could help robots disguise themselves much like how this giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) is mimicking its environment.

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Now you see it, now you don’t.

Inspired by cephalopods like octopuses and cuttlefish, which change their skin textures for camouflage, researchers fabricated a stretchy material that inflates into various 3-D shapes and flattens back out. These shape-shifting “skins,” described in the Oct. 13 Science, could someday help robots don quick disguises.

Scientists have previously taken inspiration from cephalopod camo to fashion material that changes colors in response to changes in lighting (SN: 10/4/14, p. 5). The new material is modeled after papillae — the tiny bumps that cephalopods raise and lower on their skin to mimic the textures of coral, seaweed and other surroundings, explains study coauthor James Pikul,

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