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Soft Robots Could Make Human Interactions With Robots Safer

A new octopus-inspired robot could lead to medical advances.

By Samantha Crook | August 26, 2016

Soft things are cute. Soft things are also fun to touch. And that's part of the reason why you should care about this soft octopus robot.

According to a study in the journal Nature, soft robots could even make human interactions with robots safer than with more conventional "rigid" robots.

SEE MORE: The Next Step In Crime Fighting: Robot Security Guards

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The autonomous robot is "the first self-contained robot made exclusively of soft, flexible parts."

It's powered by gas. Harvard University explains it this way: "A reaction inside the bot transforms a small amount of liquid fuel (hydrogen peroxide) into a large amount of gas, which flows into the octobot’s arms and inflates them like a balloon."

The octopus was also the inspiration for another soft robot introduced this year. That wiggly robot was modeled after the flexible, color-changing skin of the animals.

And the flexible technology of both of these bots could mean big advances in health care. The soft, untethered technology of the most recent octobot could come in handy during surgeries.  

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