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As discussed, science and technology are not mutually exclusive but certain aspects are intertwined and one can and often does drive the advancement of the other. Robotics for example began as science fiction and has evolved into a reality because of advances in both science and technology. Recently the emergence of Soft Robotics has melded the two into an almost indistinguishable area of study. One where both technology and science play an integral role.
Various sciences have had significant impact on the advancements of soft robotics. More specifically materials science, biology and physics (continuum mechanics). Nearly every field of engineering plays a role in the technological advancement of soft robotics. Mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering and fluid dynamics are just to name a few areas that without their application of technological advances in-of-themselves we soft robotics would not be where it is today.
The word Robot comes from the Slavic root word “rabota (Работа)” meaning to work. It first appeared in a Czech play in the 1920’s and was further developed into other works of science fiction. Human beings have forever been fascinated by the fine line between Science Fiction and Science Fact. We have used science fiction to catapult our imaginations into a tangible reality. Our desire to reach further and further into space has also sped up the evolution of soft robotics as seen in new space suits under development and the exploration of our nearby planets. The data collection that these robots will provide to further scientific research here on earth will prove to be invaluable in the future. Further employment of soft robotics in existing industries would create the supply and demand effect needed to fund further research and development.
Rus, Daniela and Michael T. Tolley. “Design, Fabrication and Control of Soft Robots.” Nature 521, no. 7553 (May 27, 2015): 467–475.
Hines, Lindsey; Petersen, Kirstin; Lum, Guo Zhan; Sitti, Metin (2017). “Soft Actuators for Small-Scale Robotics”. Advanced Materials.
Mather, P. T.; Qin, H.; Liu, C. (2007-04-10). “Review of progress in shape-memory polymers“. Journal of Materials Chemistry. 17 (16): 1543–1558.