Soft robotics for chemists


F. Ilievski, A. D. Mazzeo, R. F. Shepherd, X. Chen, and G. M. Whitesides, “Soft robotics for chemists,” Angewandte Chemie, vol. 123, pp. 1930–1935, 2011.


In areas from assembly of machines to surgery, and from deactivation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to unmanned flight, robotics is an important and rapidly growing field of science and technology. It is currently dominated by robots having hard body plans—constructions largely of metal structural elements and conventional joints — and actuated by electrical motors, or pneumatic or hydraulic systems. Handling fragile objects—from the ordinary (fruit) to the important (internal organs)—is a frequent task whose importance is often overlooked and is difficult for conventional hard robots; moving across unknown, irregular, and shifting terrain is also. Soft robots may provide solutions to both of these classes of problems, and to others. Methods of designing and fabricating soft robots are, however, much less developed than those for hard robots. We wish to expand the methods and materials of chemistry and soft-materials science into applications in fully soft robots.


Last updated on 03/07/2014