SquishBot is a program to develop a new class of soft, shape-changing robot. The goal is to design systems that can transform themselves from hard to soft and from soft to hard, upon command. Another goal is to create systems that change their critical dimensions by large amounts, as much as 10x. Such robots will be like soft animals that can squeeze themselves through small openings and into tight places.
The Boston Dynamics-lead team includes researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specialize in novel materials and deformable structures. The program leverages MIT's previous work developing slug robots and Boston Dynamics' work on robots that crawl, walk and climb. SquishBot is funded by the Defense Sciences Office at DARPA as part of the ChemBot program.