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These Freaky Robots Were Built From Drinking Straws and Inspired by Spiders

Emulating spiders and bugs, and using drinking straws as basic building blocks, a research team from Harvard University has developed a type of semi-soft robot capable of standing, walking, and even striding across a liquid surface. Say hello to the “arthrobots.” Read More >>

The Robots of the Future May Be Controlled By Magnetic Fields

Life is soft. If we want our robots to become more lifelike, or if we want to start using them for more biological applications, they too have to be soft and flexible. That includes robots designed to move around in fluids, robots designed to augment organs in the human body, prosthetics, and, uh, this. Read More >>

Air-Powered Robotic Sleeve Wraps Around Your Heart to Keep It Pumping

Researchers from Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital have developed an innovative robotic sleeve that fits around the heart like a glove, maintaining a steady beat while the patient recovers. Read More >>

This Cyborg Stingray Is the Coolest Thing You’ll See All Day

An international team of researchers has developed an eerily realistic robotic stingray that blurs the line between animal and machine. Fuelled by light-activated heart cells, the cyborg fish could inspire the development of futuristic medical devices and incredibly life-like synthetic animals. Read More >>

The Next Generation of Space Rovers Could Be Squishy Blobs With Bladders

“Soft,” “amorphous,” and “bladder” aren’t words usually associated with robots. But NASA’s changing that with new plans to make space rovers physically softer, which could make them way better at exploring distant, rocky lands. Read More >>

In This Incredibly Strange Vision of the Future, a Robotic Worm Is Your Only Device

For most people in 2015, “one device that can do it all” is a tablet that also has a keyboard. For interaction designers at MIT, it means a shape-shifting soft robot that switches from phone, to watch, to flashlight, to charging cable. Read More >>

The Earthworm’s Surprising Superpowers Inspired This Biomimetic Worm-Bot 

Consider the earthworm. Ubiquitous, not unfriendly, maybe a little gross–who would think that this humble creature may hold the key to a new generation of soft robots? Read More >>

To Make Robot Hands More Human, MIT Built These Softer, Smarter Fingers

It’s easy to forget how amazing the dexterity and anatomy of our own hands are – until you learn how difficult they are to replicate for machines. MIT has made big strides in robotic hands this year, and now it’s published a new one. Read More >>

Inside the Experimental Robotics Lab Where Machines are Getting Softer

Last week, an artificially intelligent robot scared me to death. The next day, I travelled to a university lab where I met robots designed to do the exact opposite. Big, soft, and inflatable, these robots are Disney characters in real life. Your grandma’s going to love them. That’s the idea. Read More >>

giz explains
How to Make a Soft Robot

Robots are often imagined as hard, shiny things, gleaming futuristic machines. They often are hard, shiny things. But sometimes they're soft and flexible, instead. Soft robotics is a growing field devoted to the squishier side of automated technology, and with the help of a new toolkit, you can get in on the action. Read More >>

Wet Computing Could Put a Terabyte in a Tablespoon

We live in a world of physical computing. Solids and silicon store all our tweets, texts, and selfies, but what if the traditional ways of computing underwent a phase change? Read More >>