Soft and compliant: The robots of the future

Possible use of soft robots for human-robot interaction in assembly processes. (Image: match)

match | Paradigm shift in robotics: Instead of classical robot structures using stiff materials, soft material robotics employs soft and compliant components such as silicones. A new DFG Priority Programme seeks to promote research in this particular research area.

In the future, soft and compliant robots could collaborate with humans – for example in assembly processes. The new robot structures have a stiffness which is comparable to human tissue, the risk of injury for human-robot interaction is thus reduced considerably. 

Since its foundation, the Institute of Assembly Technology (match) conducts research on soft material robotic systems. Such systems go without stiff materials such as steel or aluminium and use soft materials like silicones and plastics instead. This approach makes robots soft and compliant as well as flexible and adaptable. Other fields of application are medical engineering and exploration robotics. 

At the initiative of match, the German Research Foundation (DFG) established the Priority Programme "Soft Material Robotic Systems" with the aim to accelerate research in this particular area. Proposals must be submitted to DFG by 29 November 2017. 

More information is available under: www.dfg.de/foerderung/info_wissenschaft/info_wissenschaft_17_55

by Mats Wiese

Image gallery for this article

  • Possible use of soft robots for human-robot interaction in assembly processes. (Image: match)
  • match researches on novel structures such as this soft pneumatic actuator. (Image: match)
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