Robots can walk, climb, and even open doors. But can they iceskate?

Well, it seems now they can.

Stelian Coros, a professor at the Computational Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich, says the only thing his team did was to tell the robot how one skate behaved on the ice, and that it was free to move in the direction of the blade.

The modular robot can then work out where its legs need to be balanced in order to steer.

The robots could one day be used for activities as diverse as deliveries, helping people or even search and rescue work.

--

Join 900,000+ Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Capital, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.