Scientists have created an artificial camouflage fabric inspired by the skin of octopus and cuttlefish. The two animals are among nature’s very best hiders.
And soon enough we might be able to make soft robots that can do the same thing thanks to a breakthrough in synthetic octopus skin.
In a study published in the latest issue of Science, researchers from Cornell University reveal how they made a morphing silicone-based membrane, inspired by cephalopod camouflage techniques.
The team created it via layers of silicone, rubber, and mesh that can assume the shape of things around it, like inanimate stones or living plants, disappearing into the background so that it’s indistinguishable.
According to Live Science, the researchers now are currently working on a robotic skin that would be able to mimic the octopus’ incredible 3D camouflage ability.
Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Army Research Office, are working on how can they managed the “morphing silicone-based membrane” to change its texture in a flash something species of octopus can do.
“Lots of animals have papillae, but they can’t extend and retract them instantaneously as octopus and cuttlefish do,” says biologist Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory. “These are soft-bodied molluscs without a shell; their primary defense is their morphing skin.”
“This is the classic example of biology-inspired engineering with a range of potential applications,” he added.
While it will take some time for this technology to be perfected, maybe the future may belong to the octopus people.