There are multiple use-cases for such a device. Imagine, for example, there’s been a dangerous gas leak. One of the Squishy Robots comes equipped with a sensor that can ‘sniff’ the levels of four different gases: CO, H2S, LEL, O2. That same robot has six cameras for full 360° coverage and a GPS. Because it creates its own mesh network, data can be shared with its operator even in situations where a cellular network is down.
We asked Dr. Agogino what she feels differentiates the company’s products from other robots.
“A key differentiator is that our air-deployed robots can get to places that ground robots cannot easily access,” she says.
“We can fly over rivers or wreckage and debris from natural disasters, for example. Some ground robots can manage travel around such obstacles, but our tensegrity robots can get there faster and send data sooner than a ground-based robot. Our robots can also be deployed by humans—someone can easily throw or toss one of our lightweight robots over a fence or a rescuer could drop them down a mineshaft or into a cave. Those actions aren’t possible with a heavy robot with so many breakable components.”