A non-Newtonian fluid robot

Guy Hachmon, Noam Mamet, Sapir Sasson, Tal Barkai, Nomi Hadar, Almogit Abu-Horowitz, Ido Bachelet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


New types of robots inspired by biological principles of assembly, locomotion, and behavior have been recently described. In this work we explored the concept of robots that are based on more fundamental physical phenomena, such as fluid dynamics, and their potential capabilities. We report a robot made entirely of non-Newtonian fluid, driven by shear strains created by spatial patterns of audio waves. We demonstrate various robotic primitives such as locomotion and transport of metallic loads - up to 6-fold heavier than the robot itself - between points on a surface, splitting and merging, shapeshifting, percolation through gratings, and counting to 3. We also utilized interactions between multiple robots carrying chemical loads to drive a bulk chemical synthesis reaction. Free of constraints such as skin or obligatory structural integrity, fluid robots represent a radically different design that could adapt more easily to unfamiliar, hostile, or chaotic environments and carry out tasks that neither living organisms nor conventional machines are capable of.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalArtificial Life
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  • Biologically inspired robotics
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Non-Newtonian fluids
  • Robot


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