soft robotics
n. The invention and use of robots made from materials that are soft, flexible, or malleable.
Other Forms
How will these robots appear in our lives and how will we interact, and live, with them? We can foresee smart skins, assist and medical devices, biodegradable and environmental robots or intelligent soft robots. For example, the compliance of soft robotics makes them ideally suited for direct interaction with biological tissue.
—Jonathan Rossiter, “Robotics, Smart Materials, and their Future Impact for Humans,” MIT Technology Review, April 06, 2017
The researchers planted a soft controller in the Octobot’s body that shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers, turning the fluid fuel to oxygen gas and water vapor. The gas pumps up the legs though tiny channels running from the body, making the gummy tentacles twitch—a big step in soft robotics.
—Kata Karáth, “The future of soft robotics: a 3D-printed, farting, gummy octopus,” Quartz, August 25, 2016
“Every problem in mechanical engineering has been addressed with more weight, more power and more stiffness,” said Mr. Griffith, co-founder and chief executive of Otherlab. “But nature—the real world—is squiggly.”

Mr. Griffith is at the forefront of a movement known as soft robotics, which aims to revolutionize the way we think about building things.
—Quentin Hardy, “The Robotics Inventors Who Are Trying to Take the 'Hard' Out of Hardware,” The New York Times, April 14, 2015
2004 (earliest)
In the field of service robotics, whole arm contact with an unstructured environment or human beings becomes a major issue. Therefore soft robots, which mean robots with passively (or mechanically) compliant joints, become more and more important.
—A. Albu-Schaffer, et al., “Soft robotics: what Cartesian stiffness can obtain with passively compliant, uncoupled joints?,” IEEE Xplore, September 28, 2004
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