MIT’s Color-changing Robot ‘skin’ Was Inspired by the Golden Tortoise Beetle

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a 3D-printed robot “skin” capable of changing color according to the physical stimuli that it receives. The work was inspired by the so-called “goldbug,” a golden tortoise beetle, which changes color in the wild.

“I was googling online about two and a half years ago, looking for creatures that change their color, and found out about this beetle,” project leader, Subramanian Sundaram, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, told Digital Trends. “The golden tortoise beetle is incredibly interesting. One of the things it does is that, when it’s disturbed or scared, it drains out the fluid in its shell which is normally golden in color, but becomes a reddish-brown. I was interested by the idea that this beetle was able to respond to mechanical disturbances by changing the color and transparency of its outer shell. I thought we might be able to replicate that.”

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