Taking inspiration from octopuses and other cephalopods and their ability to quickly change color and shape, scientists have developed a synthetic tissue groupings that transform flat surfaces into 3D ones on demand.
Researchers created a 'skin' made from layers of silicone, rubber, and mesh that can assume the shape of things around it, inspired by cephalopod camouflage techniques.
The project came into existence after Cornell University materials expert Itai Cohen after watched videos of cephalopods in the ocean seemingly magically conjuring themselves into existence.
Cohen wanted to replicate this morphing effect with silicone, the primary material used in the field of soft robotics.
A cephalopod is able to change its shape to blend into its surroundings through activation of its papillae, which are small, rounded protuberances on animal organs that extend from the body by contraction of the erector muscles within.
The new method mimics this process by combining two materials, a fiber mesh embedded in a silicone elastomer, to act as synthetic tissue groupings. The study was published in the journal Science.