Researchers using the liquid crystal elastomer technology, demonstrated a bioinspired micro-robot capable of mimicking caterpillar gaits in natural scale. The 15-millimeter long soft robot harvests energy from green light and is controlled by spatially modulated laser beam.
By combining robotics with tissue engineering, researchers are starting to build robots powered by living muscle tissue or cells. These devices can be stimulated electrically or with light to make the cells contract to bend their skeletons, causing the robot to swim or crawl.
Researchers have developed a dielectric elastomer with a broad range of motion that requires relatively low voltage and no rigid components.This type of actuator could be used in everything from wearable devices to soft grippers, laparoscopic surgical tools, entirely soft robots or artificial muscles in more complex robotics.