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US Army researching squid-like robots for stealth missions

Soft and spineless robots could be used by the US Army to help with stealth missions.

The military is looking into the possibility of using 3D printing technology to create squid-like bots to aid with "covert maneuvering" in "highly congested and contested urban environments".

The US Army Research Laboratory announced its joint research project with the University of Minnesota this week.

Army researcher Dr. Ed Habtour said: "Successful stealthy maneuvering requires high structural flexibility and distributive control to sneak into confined or restricted spaces, operate for extended periods and emulate biological morphologies and adaptability."

Lead author Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani added that their 3D printer "does not require post-processing steps, such as assembly, drying or annealing", so new squid robots would be able to be built quickly in combat zones with "minimal prior expertise".

The robot would be fully flexible with a "high bending motion" in any direction, while the elastic material - dielectric elastomer actuator - is capable of being 3D-printed en masse.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, robotics experts signed a letter slamming a proposal to recognise robots as legal persons.

Over 150 experts from the fields of robotics, commerce, law, ethics, and artificial intelligence from 14 different countries have put their name down on an open letter which hit out at a recent proposal from the European Parliament.

Under the terms of the proposal, intelligent machines would have been bestowed with personhood status.

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