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Sensory-Active Skins for Robots

Shape-memory alloy threads are wrapped around foam to demonstrate how the sensory skin of a soft robot. On the left, the threads bend the foam into an L shape. On the right, the threads compress the foam. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University/Rebecca Kramer)

Researchers at Purdue University have built soft robots using shape-memory alloys (SMAs) woven into fabric. By orienting the alloy threads in different ways and wrapping it around foam blocks, the material can initiate movement. “Previous works have not combined both flexible sensors and actuators in their designs, usually …

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