‘Self-healing’ robot survives stabbing ‘torture’ and gets back up walking again

As robots grow more and more sophisticated, so do fears about them taking over.

For some time, we humans have been able to take comfort in the fact that, if worse came to worst, we could simply turn off these androids or smash them up with heavy or sharp objects.

However, that may no longer be an option. Researchers in Illinois, USA, have developed a flexible robot which can heal itself from damage and get back up again.

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The robot is covered in rubbery sensors that, if cut, can fuse themselves back together using a number of chemical reactions.

Scientists tried stabbing each of the walking robot's four legs. Each time it was stabbed, the robot would stop to 'heal' over a few minutes and then start walking again.

Hedan Bai, who helped lead the research at Illinois, said: "We really tried to torture these sensors as much as we can".

As scientists work more and more on soft, flexible materials for robots, technology like this will help them become more resilient if they're damaged by force or chemicals.

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This 'damage intelligence' could become the key to using robots in dangerous industrial settings, or fitting artificial 'muscles' to prosthetics.

This isn't the first self-healing robot to be developed either. In June, scientists successfully placed living human skin on a 'sweaty finger' robot that people said looks like a sex toy.

A scientist behind the study, Professor Shoji Takeuchi, said: "Our creation is not only soft like real skin but can repair itself if cut or damaged in some way."

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