Most robots are built rigid and will break under strain--their durability and resilience is more or less dictated by the amount of stress their material components can withstand before breaking down. But a soft robot--one that lacks a rigid structure--could do all sorts of things, like change its shape and method of movement or survive unique kinds of stresses. And to that end, researchers have built a flexible, pneumatic robot that is exactly that: soft.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.