Robots are our extensions in the “Machines’ World”. Designed by us, they can be customized to tackle tasks that are either too hard, dangerous, boring or simply impossible for us to do. Robots can come in numerous shapes and sizes, they can swim, roll or walk, climb or fly. Small flying robots (drones) can search victims after dissasters, while heavy and powerful ones, that are standing in factories can lift and assemble cars. Robots and automation have already made huge contribution to our human workforce to create abundance for a little.
We explore a special class of machines made out of soft and elastic materials. These “soft-robots” can be suited for the tasks that are hard for conventional “hard-robots”, such as handling soft, fragile or irregularly shaped objects or interacting with us, humans. They can be also simpler to build, more cost effective and resilient.
Figure: Small autonomous battery-powered soft-robotic walker.