A soft-bodied robot that can sort your items such as Tupperware into similar types, clean windows and grab you a drink has been developed by scientists it Switzerland.

The elements click together like lego and it has been developed to act like a Swiss Army Knife, offering up a range of tasks it can complete to perfection to help around the home.

“Everyone has a Swiss army knife somewhere, we want this to be the robot equivalent,” Jamie Paik, one if the researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne said. “You can keep this in your toolbox, ready to help automate simple tasks around the home,” she says.

It is able to do so many things by using modules that can be clicked together like Lego. For example, if you want to switch from cleaning your windows to sorting out matching socks, you can just switch the module and hey presto! Away you go.  

The pieces are made from foam and rubber, meaning it’s a highly cost effective robot to make. In fact, it’s also quick to make too, with manufacture possible in just a few hours, from start to finish.

Each of the pieces move using suction, which is preferable to air pressure because that can apparently cause over-expansion of the muscles and ultimately, mechanical failure.

As the air is removed from the muscles, it bends. Do this rhythmically and it’ll move along like a snake. Attach some suction pads and it’ll scale a wall vertically.

“Compared to expanding actuators, contraction is more similar to the function of biological muscle,” Paik said.

“Without going into more precise and detailed mimicry, this might be functionally enough an advantage in terms of applications; to mimic real muscles in cases when you’d like to work with/augment/assist body joints (as in wearable devices), and not introduce other modes of forces or motion that might impede natural function.”