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Said to be the 'superhero' of all robots, this origami-like robot wears different outfits to perform different tasks. MIT computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory (CSAIL) has designed an origami-style bot that can transform to walk, roll, sail and glide using recyclable exoskeletons. Sourcing influence from animals like butterflies that adapt their exterior features to survive, the cube-shaped 'primer' device takes up these suits, which starts off as sheets of plastic, by heating and folding these sheets around itself into specific shapes. When its activity is complete, it can shed the sheet of the skin by simply immersing itself in water, which in turn dissolves the exoskeleton. 

"If we want robots to help us do things, it’s not very efficient to have a different one for each task," says Daniela Rus, CSAIL director and principal investigator on the project. "With this metamorphosis-inspired approach, we can extend the capabilities of a single robot by giving it different ‘accessories’ to use in different situations."

CSAIL aims to literally transform the abilities of robots and make them more flexible. At present, the robots have fixed structures and parts that are specifically designed to perform certain tasks. MIT's shape-shifting device and its many exoskeletons enable it to turn into a the walk-bot, a twice-as-fast wheel-bot, a floating Boat-bot, and a soaring glider-bot. 

The technology doesn’t stop there as 'primer' can wear multiple outfits at once, meaning that its functionality can be doubled per task.

Have a look at the origami-like robot in action in the video below: 

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