Apparently Professor Dennis Hong at the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) at Virginia Tech is exploring robotic locomotion not only with strange multi-legged robots but also with robots with no legs at all.
When we wrote about iRobot's blob 'bot, I should have known that others were working on similar chemical actuation projects. It turns out Professor Hong and his team are developing an amoeba-inspired robot called ChIMERA (Chemically Induced Motion Everting Robotic Amoeba), which can slide using a technique known as whole-skin locomotion.
To see the "amoebot" in action, watch the video below. It's a talk Professor Hong gave at TEDxNASA -- ChIMERA stars at 07:27.
Erico Guizzo is the Director of Digital Innovation at IEEE Spectrum, and cofounder of the IEEE Robots Guide, an award-winning interactive site about robotics. He oversees the operation, integration, and new feature development for all digital properties and platforms, including the Spectrum website, newsletters, CMS, editorial workflow systems, and analytics and AI tools. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.