Can soft robots transform health care, gaming, and other fields?

Sep 25, 2013

Highly deformable materials are now being engineered to create soft robots that can interact safely with humans and other living systems. But this rapidly advancing field requires more than high-tech materials. Innovation and breakthroughs in a variety of scientific disciplines will be essential, and experts representing these diverse fields participated in a lively and provocative Roundtable Discussion on the future promise and current challenges of soft robots, published in Soft Robotics (SoRo).

The insightful Roundtable Discussion, entitled "At the Crossroads: Interdisciplinary Paths to Soft Robots," brings together leading researchers in various fields necessary for the successful development, integration, and application of this complex technology. The participants describe the state of the field and predict what are likely to be among the first and highly successful applications of soft robot technology: health care and biomedical engineering (for example, to treat or paralysis, or to improve prosthetic limbs); gaming and entertainment; human-machine interfaces; and shape-changing structures (such as advanced designs).

"Each of these experts brings a different perspective to soft robotics, and yet there was a surprising amount of agreement on the key challenges facing the next generation of ," says Barry A. Trimmer, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA).

Explore further: AI expert calls on colleagues to take a stand on autonomous killer robots

More information: At the Crossroads: Interdisciplinary Paths to Soft Robots: Moderator: Barry Trimmer, Participants: Randy H. Ewoldt, Mirko Kovac, Hod Lipson, Nanshu Lu, Mohsen Shahinpoor, and Carmel Majidi, Soft Robotics, July 2013, 1(P): 63-69. DOI: 10.1089/soro.2013.1509

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Robot swarms use collective cognition to perform tasks

20 hours ago

The COCORO project's robot swarms not only look like schools of fish, they behave like them too. The project developed autonomous robots that interact with each other and exchange information, resulting in ...

Job-sharing with nursing robot

May 27, 2015

Given the aging of the population and the low birthrate both in Japan and elsewhere, healthcare professionals are in short supply and unevenly distributed, giving rise to a need for alternatives to humans ...

Robots can recover from damage in minutes (w/ Video)

May 27, 2015

Robots will one day provide tremendous benefits to society, such as in search and rescue missions and putting out forest fires—but not until they can learn to keep working if they become damaged.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.