As anyone that has seen Terminator or The Matrix will know, robots will eventually take over the world and rule us as their squishy, human slaves. Usually, the only way to stop them is to fight back – but researchers at MIT have gone one step further, in developing a robot that destroys itself at the end of its task.
This little origami robot is made from PVC, and when placed on a heating element, folds itself around a magnet without any need for cables or wires. The robot can "walk" – it looks more like jittering forward on asymmetric legs – carry objects as much as double its weight like a tiny robotic Hulk, and even swim through water.
After its mission is completed, the robot can be directed towards a beaker of acetone, which will destroy everything apart from the centre magnet that acts as its motor and power source, leaving no evidence of the robot’s existence (apart from the suspicious beaker of acid, of course).
If this robot becomes more sophisticated, smaller versions of it could be used in medical science, performing small tasks in the body before being directed to the stomach and dissolving. Or maybe that’s just what the robot wants us to think, because once its inside us, we can’t fight back…