When you hear the word “robot”, what image usually comes to mind? Is it a metallic, boxy machine? A sleek android that talks to people? A robot is a machine that is automatically operated and completes tasks in replacement for humans. Some robots are humanoid and have actions that resemble human movement, such as ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), a robot created by Honda that can walk with two legs (Honda).
What is Soft Robotics?
Soft robotics is a subfield of robotics that involves robots constructed with very compliant materials. These robots can be soft and deformable, or made of flexible materials. The field of soft robotics also includes, but is not limited to, the design of biohybrid devices, living machines, and conformable machines.
What are Some Examples of Soft Robots?
An example of a soft robot is one created recently by Stanford graduate students. This squishy robot is shaped by inflated tubes that are connected into triangles. It is a combination of multiple machines that either hold the inflated tubes together or move the corners of the robot. As motors move the corners of the robot, the overall shape of the robot can change dramatically, which allows the robot to roll in different directions, grab objects, as well as handle objects (Usevitch, Hammond, Schwager, Okamura, Hawkes & Sean Follmer 2020).
Another example of a soft robot is a flexible robotic hand created by…