Pliant Energy Systems Builds a Skating and Swimming Robot


Mar 3, 2018
Pliant Energy Systems recently showed off a robot with a novel propulsion system. Instead of using wheels, rotors, or even legs to move, Pliant's bot uses a set of actuators attached to flexible "fins" that resemble a cuttlefish, allowing it to move over almost any surface.

In the video here, the researchers show it off on sand, ice, and water.

Plaint envisions militaries using the robot for resupply or reconnaissance missions, and also seems to think it would excel at underwater wildlife observation. While they haven't given the underwater robot any autonomy with machine learning, like iBubble, I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
The thing looks like it should belong in the ocean but maybe they need to paint it neon or something so wildlife won't mistake it for food.
Definitely an example of innovative thinking outside the box where propulsion is concerned. No feet, no legs, no wheels.
Neat. As someone who was trained for search and rescue diving, but luckily never had to use that training, the swimming bot could be a huge boon. Instead of having dozens of divers searching an area you could send in autonomous bots that could tell the divers where to look, saving time, money, and possibly lives. The tech isn't there yet, but it isn't a stretch that it could get there sooner than later.
We now have the robots to fight and win against evil!