Stretchable skin-like robots that can be rolled up and put in your pocket have been developed by a team using a new way of embedding artificial muscles and electrical adhesion into soft materials. This new advance could create new thin and light robots for wearable technologies.

Stretchable skin-like robots that can be rolled up and put in your pocket have been developed by Bristol researchers. (Credit: University of Bristol)

Researchers have successfully demonstrated a new robotic skin that crawls across a surface by alternately contracting embedded artificial muscles and gripping the surface using electrical charges. The robot, called ElectroSkin, can be scrunched up, put in one’s pocket, and then later pulled out and thrown on a surface where it moves. ElectroSkin is a new fundamental building block for a range of soft next-generation robots.

ElectroSkin is an important step toward soft robots that can be easily transported, deployed, and even worn. The combination of electrical artificial muscles and electrical gripping replicated the movements of animals like slugs and snails.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2020 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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