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Why Robots That Bend Are Better Video

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Robots of the future may be softer, squishier and bendier than robots today. This could make them ideal for space exploration

On Thursday February 18th, 2021 the NASA Perseverance Rover will land on Mars. It is a wonderful robot, made out of steel and wire — but will future robots look like Perseverance? There is an emerging field of research on "soft robots", where the machines are flexible. These soft robots have many advantages over traditional robots — they're safer, lighter, more flexible and can change their shape and size.

NASA is investigating the use of soft robots for space missions. For future visits to Enceladus or Europa, a lander could cut a hole in the ice and then insert a compliant robot through the hole. This robot could then grow and change shape on the other side.
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