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Helping soft robots turn rigid on demand


Imagine a robot.
Perhaps you’ve just conjured a machine with a rigid, metallic exterior. While robots armored with hard exoskeletons are common, they’re not always ideal. Soft-bodied robots, inspired by fish or other squishy creatures, might better adapt to changing environments and work more safely with people.
Roboticists generally have to decide whether to design a hard- or soft-bodied robot for a particular task. But that tradeoff may no longer be necessary.
Working with computer simulations, MIT researchers have developed a concept for a soft-bodied robot that can turn rigid on demand. The approach could enable a new generation of …

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