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​Allison Okamura: Soft Robots for Humanity

A mechanical engineer explores how soft robots are reshaping medical education, surgery and search and rescue applications.

initialize concentric tube robot design

Transforming our perceptions | Image courtesy Allison Okamura

Forget the rigid, metallic, mechanical robots of the past, the future of the field is all about soft, says Stanford mechanical engineer Allison Okamura.

Think robots that can stretch and grow to mimic human tissue for medical training or that snake themselves into previously unreachable areas of the human body during surgery or perform search and rescue missions in places no human could ever go. It's a future filled with robots that can transform themselves — and our perceptions — on the fly.