What does this look like to you, galleons?

A lump of foam insulation with some random wires sticking out of it? A modern art sculpture?

I’ll tell you what it doesn’t look like- a goddamn robot.

And yet, that’s what it is. The Foambot is the brain child of a group at the University of Pennsylvania. It consists of what they call a “mothership” (a wheeled platform with sprayable reagents that combine to form a urethane foam) and a handful of little joint modules capable of bending and flexing.

The Foambot mothership arranges the little modules on the floor, then it sprays its foamy mixture on them in whatever configuration the controller wants. The foam hardens, and a crazy new robot is born, be it a quadruped

or a limbless snake

or whatever other configuration their little science minds can come up with.

After the foam hardens, the bot’s software then analyzes its wacky new shape and devises a “coordination scheme” based on the configuration of its movable joints to make the little robot go.

While not the prettiest robot in the world, the Pennsylvania team says that the versatility of their creation (creator?) means it could be extremely useful for things like space travel or reconnaissance, where the shape of the needed bot might not be known in advance. Different bot shapes could be useful in different situations. For example, the snake-shape might be best for slithering around rocks, while the crawling quadruped would have an easier time traversing open ground.

Regardless, I’m worried, dear galleons. Just how long will it take them to go from Foambot to T-1000?

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