MIT’s new robot can put on different exoskeletons to gain new powers

MIT’s Computers Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has created a new robot that’s designed to be as adaptable as possible, with the ability to use different “outfits” that each provide different “powers” to the robot. These could include optimizing its ability to walk, for instance, as well as navigating water and even taking to the skies.

This super cool little robot is basically a cube, and CSAIL calls it ‘Primer,’ which is a perfect setup for a sci-fi story based on this thing. In the video below, you can watch it in action, as it navigates itself into the center of its exoskeletons, and then uses emitted heat to wrap the suits around itself. Then, it can do different stuff, like hit the waves or ramble about more quickly on land.

Primer’s movement is controlled by built-in magnets, and it can shed its own skin and then go find a new one to don all on its own. It can also stack outfits on top of one another to help it combine capabilities.

These robots could prove incredibly flexible when built at scale, and in more complex configurations. You can imagine deploying a single robot with a range of “suits” to do something like explore the surface of an alien planet, or even to chart more remote portions of our own Earth, and to switch between search and rescue tasks.

Plus, they seem like they would make great pets.