Mechanical protein’ robot will fold itself into any shape

Imagine a string that can assemble itself into just about anything wherever and whenever you need it — a wrench to adjust your child’s bike seat or a hammer to pound a nail into the wall, for example. That future may be distant, but researchers have built a robot that already hints at the possibility.

“The robot is just a continuous strip, it is a one-dimensional thing,” Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told NBC News, speaking of the concept behind the device.