Soft robotics enables the design of soft machines and devices at different scales. The compliance and mechanical properties of soft robots make them especially interesting for medical applications. Depending on the level of interaction with humans, different levels of biocompatibility and biomimicry are required for soft materials used in robots. In this Review, we investigate soft robots for biomedical applications, including soft tools for surgery, diagnosis and drug delivery, wearable and assistive devices, prostheses, artificial organs and tissue-mimicking active simulators for training and biomechanical studies. We highlight challenges regarding durability and reliability, and examine traditional and novel soft and active materials as well as different actuation strategies. Finally, we discuss future approaches and applications in the field.
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The authors acknowledge support from the European Commission through the Hybrid Heart (#767195) and I-SUPPORT (#643666) projects.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Intiutive Surgical: http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/ Ovesco: http://www.ovesco.com The Lee Company: http://www.theleeco.com/ Soft Robotics: https://www.softroboticsinc.com/ HybridHeart: http://www.hybridheart.eu/ BR Biomedical Pvt Ltd: http://www.brbiomedicals.com The Bionic Humanoid: http://www.jst.go.jp/impact/bionichumanoids/en/index.html
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Cianchetti, M., Laschi, C., Menciassi, A. et al. Biomedical applications of soft robotics. Nat Rev Mater 3, 143–153 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-018-0022-y
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