The growing need for robots in service tasks, in unstructured environments, in contact with humans, is leading to relase the basic assumption of rigid parts in robotics.
The role of soft body parts to increase adaptability and robustness appears clear in natural organisms. Compliance, or softness, are also needed for implementing the principles of embodied intelligence, or morphological computation, a modern view of intelligence, attributing a stronger role to the physical body and its interaction with the environment.
Soft robotics is an interdisciplinary field in robotics that deals with robots built out of soft and deformable materials capable to actively and safely interact with humans and the environment. Soft robotics is not just a new direction of technological development, but a novel approach to robotics, unhinging its fundamentals, with the potential to produce a new generation of robots, in the support of humans in our natural environments.
Prof. Cecilia Laschi