The people at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a snake robot that can perform many useful functions.
It can reshape itself, record movement and spring into different outlines for a variety of tasks.
The prototype creations, called LineFORM, can snap into different shapes, keeping some parts of the structure flexible, while others remain stiff.
This could have uses in search and rescue operations, or indeed in day to day functions in the future when more sophisticated designs can be made and augmented.
It could, conceptually, transform a flat surface into a traditional phone...
...or act as a smart wristband, alerting you to notifications.
It could also act like a smart lamp, positioning a light source exactly to your needs, or as a clamp to hold various items.
The device has been demonstrated recording movement and then replaying it, which could possibly be used for physiotherapy in the future.
These uses are all theoretical at the present, as the device is only a prototype, but it does seem promising.
And pretty damn cool.
Ken Nakagaki, Sean Follmer, and Tangible Media Group head Professor Hiroshi Ishii, the researchers, say:
We envisage LineFORM-style devices coupled with flexible displays as next-generation mobile devices.
We have shown that a relatively small number of actuators can be used to achieve an expressive display ... our hope is that this work will motivate others to further explore the space.
To watch the full video, see below:
(H/T The Verge)