Self-Healing Polymers Make For Self-Healing Robots

Robotic teams everywhere are working on soft robots, because many situations need a gentle touch. Soft robots can squish into tight locations, pick up fragile objects without breaking them and more. However soft robots are obviously more easily damaged as well. Say a soft robot encounters something with sharp edges. Well, that soft material is damaged and basically the equivalent of a human with an open wound. To solve this, a team of researchers from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium have developed a way to create soft machines that can heal themselves. The method is simple. They just use heat. In the video below, a robotic hand has artificial muscle that has self-healing properties. The hand gets stabbed and then proceeds to repair itself. The material is made of jelly-like rubbery polymers with many strands that reorganize and lock together when heat is introduced. This basically means that...