Exploiting short-term memory in soft body dynamics as a computational resource

K. Nakajima*, T. Li, H. Hauser, R. Pfeifer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

39 Citations (Scopus)


Soft materials are not only highly deformable, but they also possess rich and diverse body dynamics. Soft body dynamics exhibit a variety of properties, including nonlinearity, elasticity and potentially infinitely many degrees of freedom. Here, we demonstrate that such soft body dynamics can be employed to conduct certain types of computation. Using body dynamics generated from a soft silicone arm, we show that they can be exploited to emulate functions that require memory and to embed robust closed-loop control into the arm. Our results suggest that soft body dynamics have a short-term memory and can serve as a computational resource. This finding paves the way towards exploiting passive body dynamics for control of a large class of underactuated systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0437
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number100
Early online date19 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2014


  • Morphological computation
  • Octopus
  • Physical reservoir computing
  • Soft robots

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