Soft Robotics Offer the Automatons Yet Another Way to Take Over the EarthS

Between this post about "soft robots," those nanotube muscles we talked about earlier this week, and the last scene of Battlestar Galactica, I have no doubt that our future is very robotic indeed.

But what's this "soft robot" thing, you ask? Easy. It's your traditional autonomous robot, with limbs that bend, flex and fit into a variety of places, a la our aquatic friend the octopus. Like the cephalopod, there will also be no hard surfaces or bones, meaning—in theory—this robot will be able to survey the ocean floor with the dexterity as the octopi.

You can see how these limbs work in the video (short commercial to start), as well as how scientists are trying to recreate this organic feat in something artificial as part of a multi-million dollar research effort to explore the world's oceans.

Aside from looking like a Pinocchio dildo, the artificial soft robot limb does sort of resemble an octopus. Robots have long been portrayed as humanoid, clunky, or at the least very mechanical in nature. If soft robotics pans out, it could change that dynamic pretty substantially.

[New Scientist]