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Monday, February 13, 2017, 05:38

What do robots feel like? Most likely the same as the touch of a microwave or that cold, hard casserole our aunt brought last Christmas. A robots metallic body is one of the most recognizable characteristics, but the future could be much more familiar than we think.

 


A team of Harvard researchers in 3-D printing, mechanical engineering, and microfluidics have made the first soft robot nicknamed The Octobot. Inspired by the octopus's ability to have strength and dexterity without a skeleton of its own. 

 


The key to creating a soft body was avoiding any rigid components such as metal or wires. Instead, chemical reactions fuel the body, put more simply a robot’s muscles instead of its bones, anyone who has cancelled a gym membership can relate. It’s a big step forward to creating more advanced soft robots. 

 


Does a robot with no metal parts change our experience with them? If something is closer to our physical makeup, do we feel differently towards it? Would a soft robot that can crawl, swim and interact with us be different than a metallic one? Would we be jealous if a robot had softer skin than us? Would they let us borrow their hand cream?


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