A soft-bodied robot that can change colour to blend in with its surroundings has been unveiled.
Professor Seung Hwan Ko of Seoul National University explained the technology will probably be used as camouflage but it could also be used for "cosmetic" purposes to allow clothes or buildings to respond to their surroundings.
The chameleon-like skin was made by researchers from "thermochromic liquid crystal ink", which changes colour with temperature, and "silver nanowire heaters".
And the resulting colour changes happened so quickly, they were "comparable to the physiological colour change found in animals", the researchers said.
The robot has been designed with colour sensors underneath but though it can respond to the surface it crosses, it can't copy complex background patterns but it does have a range of pre-programmed schemes to help it blend in.
However, some experts are concerned about the effect ambient temperature may have because the robot's colour change is caused by heating or cooling the skin.
Professor Ko explained the technology could be harnessed to make military camouflage to match surroundings, or simply for aesthetic reasons.
He said: "You may imagine a cloth that changes its colour and patterns according to your taste or environment."