Hey, remember those creatures from Alien, the ones that jump up, wrap themselves around your face, and then do something horribly Freudian and transgressive? Harvard researchers are building a robot that does that. Invest in shotgun ammo now.
OK, so this “untethered jumping soft robot” can’t clamp onto your face and hump it yet, but it can jump up there and give it the ol’ college try. The robot in question is made of flesh colored silicone, because according to Spectrum IEEE, that was what was “cheap and available.” Let’s not linger on why that’s the case, mkay?
The jumping comes courtesy of a butane/oxygen reaction, which is triggered in the spring on the underside. So it’s not just a facehugger, it’s an exploding facehugger, which is kind of like finding out that Pennywise isn’t just a homicidal clown, but also a giant spider. By the way, the “untethered,” in this scenario, means the robot is not dependent on outside resources or assistance. It can orient for the jump, create the explosion, and leap without a human helping it out. As for the part where it sticks to your face and commits a violent felony:
The researchers also mention that future versions could include the ability to grip or adhere to surfaces, which would be pretty awesome. We are now looking forward to soft exploding octopus gecko robots, because what could possibly be better than that.
From this we take away two important lessons. One, Harvard should be nuked from orbit, as it’s the only way to be sure. Two, that apparently if Cthulhu doesn’t actually exist, we as a species will build him.