Nature is a very, very rich source of inspiration for the world of science. How many modern day innovations have come about simply because great thinkers looked at what nature does and would like to replicate it? The octopus is one really cool creature with skin that can bend, stretch, as well as change its colors to match its surroundings – and researchers have already come up with robots that are capable of displaying such qualities as you can see in the video above.

Researchers from Cornell have come up with such an octopus-inspired robotic “skin”, where it has the ability to stretch up to half a dozen times its original size, and to be able to emit light while it does so. This extremely malleable skin was designed so that soft robots will be able to gain the ability to change color and show off information based on input from their sensors.

Unlike traditional robots (quadrupeds like Spot or bipeds like the Atlas) that are made up of stiff mechanical components, these soft robots can bend, and hence, squeeze into tight spaces without making a mess of the electronics within. This would come in handy in the event of a search-and-rescue mission, or might also double up as a useful assistant where existing robotic surgical tools are concerned.

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