Soft robot heal themselves

The robot heals itself after adding heat to the soft rubber material. A new type of soft robot makes full recovery in about a day. The research team from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) created the robot, gripper and muscle hands from their own healing rubber material after the engineers sliced each one with a scalpel, then put it in the oven.

Tinuku Soft robot heal themselves

Heat up to 80 Celsius to bake for 40 minutes, then cool it to room temperature where the wounds from all three pieces of bots have been completely covered. Twenty-four hours later, the machines have returned at least 98 percent strength and flexibility.

The latest report in Science Robotics is a bonding incision between two chemicals that make up flexible materials. At higher temperatures, chemical compounds can also split up and move more easily. The researchers cooled the material from which the compounds were tied back.

"Polymers have many different strands that lock together to form materials, heat will regulate to stay afloat without leaving a weak point," says Bram Vanderborght.

The new findings help overcome the major limitations of soft and flexible robots to explore rough terrain and handle fragile objects, but are prone to puncture. The self-healing machine will open the way to create soft bots that are durable and reusable.