Soft robotics: the route to true robotic organisms

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Soft Robotics has come to the fore in the last decade as a new way of conceptualising, designing and fabricating robots. Soft materials empower robots with locomotion, manipulation, and adaptability capabilities beyond those possible with conventional rigid robots. Soft robots can also be made from biological, biocompatible and biodegradable materials. This offers the tantalising possibility of bridging the gap between robots and organisms. Here, we discuss the properties of soft materials and soft systems that make them so attractive for future robots. In doing so, we consider how future robots can behave like, and have abilities akin to, biological organisms. These include huge numbers, finite lifetime, homeostasis and minimal—and even positive—environmental impact. This paves the way for future robots, not as machines, but as robotic organism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalArtificial Life and Robotics
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Rossiter is supported by EPSRC grants EP/L015293/1, EP/M020460/1, EP/R02961X/1 and EP/S026096/1, and the Royal Academy of Engineering through the Chair in Emerging Technologies scheme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Soft robotics
  • Robot organisms
  • Biodegradable robots
  • Avogadro’s number of robots


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