Japanese scientists have made a polymer that walks. What more do you need to know?
The Shuji Hashimoto applied physics laboratory at Waseda University, Tokyo, unveiled their Flubber prototype that works purely by chemical reaction.
Based around the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, the gel oscillates its color and size based on its surrounding environment.
In layman's terms, the constituents of the gel change over time without ever achieving equilibrium, so they are in a constant state of flux. The gel harnesses all of these small changes in size by setting up tension through the gel, changing the state, and letting it walk, releasing the tension, before the whole process starts again.
This version works with a notched surface to gain grip, but after this success, the scientists are hoping to recreate the foot of a snail by building in peristaltic motion. (Using the flux to push along the floor)
While this is still confined to the laboratory, biochemical systems like this could be used to replace electronics in situations where a self controlling mechanism could be far more useful, like the cardiac muscle of the heart.
Cyberware is so last year.
Source: New Scientist