"The goal of the Chemical Robots (ChemBots) Program is to create a new class of soft, flexible, mesoscale mobile objects that can identify and maneuver through openings smaller than their dimensions and perform various tasks.
The program seeks to develop a ChemBot that can perform several operations in sequence:
Travel a distance;
Traverse an arbitrary-shaped opening much smaller than the largest characteristic dimension of the robot itself;
Reconstitute its size, shape, and functionality after traversing the opening;
Travel a distance; and
Perform a function or task using an embedded payload.
This program creates a convergence between materials chemistry and robotics through the application of any one of a number of approaches, including gel-solid phase transitions, electro- and magneto-rheological materials, geometric transitions, and reversible chemical and/or particle association and dissociation.
With ChemBots, our warfighters can gain access to denied spaces and perform tasks safely, covertly, and efficiently. "