Soft robotics a reality

He is seeking to make robots more elastic and stretchy. The material is made of hyperelastic and emitting hydro-gel.
By Alex Bourque | Mar 25, 2016
When you think of robots, the first thing you visualize is a metallic humanoid android with rigid movements and squeaky sounds. You just have to take a look at Boston Robotics to have a real vision of what direction robotics are taking. The company is working on robots that would be used for rescue services and army operations.

But Chris Larson is looking at robotics at a whole new angle. He is seeking to make robots more elastic and stretchy. The material is made of hyperelastic and emitting hydro-gel. The material can stretch up to six times its normal size while it can change up to six colors.

"Why is this important?" said Chris Larson. "For one thing, when robots become more and more a part of our lives, the ability for them to have an emotional connection with us will be extraordinary. So to be able to change their color in response to mood or the tone of the room we believe is going to be necessary for human-robot interactions."

The research team believes that in a world with more robotics, having the robot, change color towards the human emotion or the surrounding will help better enhance the human-robot synergy. The soft robot moves in a crawling manner in a swift, efficient way. This would also help it enter places impossible for the typical rigid robot.

There is a possibility of combining the two kinds of robots to get a hybrid with the power of metallic robots and the swiftness and flexibility of the soft robots. Apple is also looking into it in making their gadgets such as the Apple watch become more in tune with the human features.

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