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.
Though technical details are still under wraps, Travis Deyle at Hizook did a great job in summarizing what is known about ChIMERA and related projects.
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 digital product manager at IEEE Spectrum. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.