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Researchers’ algorithm designs soft robots that sense

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There are some tasks that traditional robots — the rigid and metallic kind — simply aren’t cut out for. Soft-bodied robots, on the other hand, may be able to interact with people more safely or slip into tight spaces with ease. But for robots to reliably complete their programmed duties, they need to know the whereabouts of all their body parts. That’s a tall task for a soft robot that can deform in a virtually infinite number of ways.

MIT researchers have developed an algorithm to help engineers design soft robots that collect more useful information about their surroundings. The …

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