Good point, Ann. At first I thought the robot was calling for the chemicals remotely, just because too much was needed for the package. But after viewing the video again, you're right. It does look like they might be pumped due to human intervention.
Jack, how those colors are determined wasn't specified, but at this point I'm reasonably certain the robot is not doing the choosing. I have several unanswered questions about how the robot will work in the next rev, which is supposed to be untethered. Once of them is: where will the multiple fluids used for color changes come from? Will it be pre-resident in different layers? And what about the pumping action? In the video, the pumping, at least, appears to be done by the operator in real time.
Ann, maybe I missed it, but do you know how the color is determined? Is this a case where the human operator decides how the robot will blend in to its surrounding and then give a command through the various chemical reactions, or does the unit decide for itself what to do?
Rob, the researchers did say that the next step is to develop this robot so it works without a tether. Whether this guy can take advantage of that flexible battery, who knows, but that sounds like a great idea.
Even in the video you posted, Ann, you can see that this robot would be able to squeeze through a small area. It has a gummy worm aspect of flexibility. If they can move beyond a tether -- say, with the flexibile battery you wrote about last week -- http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=249722 -- this could go through all sorts of small spaces.
Rob, I think you nailed that--surveillance is supposed to be one of the major apps this robot would be good for. I can see it taking many different forms, too. Hope they get a better video for the next rev.