SQUISHBot Project Page
SQUISHBot (Soft QUIet Shape-shifting robot) is a soft meso-scale robot that can climb walls,
ceilings, and cross rough terrain. The robot is compliant and can morph, allowing it to conform
to irregular shapes and squeeze through holes much smaller than its nominal cross-sectional area.
The robot’s viscoelastic skeleton can transition from rigid to compliant states; it is comprised
of field responsive fluids impregnated within a high-porosity open-cell foam to create viscoelastic
solids with highly compliant and user-selectable stiffness. Advanced software controls the
stiffness of SQUISHBot’s body to affectively make it a high- or low-degree-of-freedom robot.
SQUISHBot travels using principles of locomotion adapted from the study of slugs, snails, and
other mollusks. By excreting a very thin film of viscous fluid that spreads between the robot’s
flexible body—which acts like a foot—and the terrain, SQUISHBot is able to climb vertical and
inverted surfaces and traverse a variety of terrains and substrates.
MIT is collaborating with Boston Dynamics, who is responsible for the final design and delivery
of the robot. In addition to the Compliant Mechanism Design led by Martin Culpepper and Karl
Iagnemma, other MIT groups are conducting research in the areas of Field Responsive Fluids
(led by Anette Hosoi and Gareth McKinley) and water harvesting (led by McKinley).