Cornell University researchers have discovered how to power simple robots with a novel substance that, when heated, can expand more than 10 times in size, change its viscosity by a factor of 10 and transition from regular to highly irregular granules with surprising force.

You can also eat it with a little butter and salt.

“Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators,” a recent paper co-authored by Steven Ceron, mechanical engineering doctoral student, and Kirstin H. Petersen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, examines how popcorn’s unique qualities can power inexpensive robotic devices that grip, expand or change rigidity.

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