A group of Harvard engineers were able to create a completely autonomous robot using soft robotics. Notably, this is the first robot created that does not use any hard components. And if that's not enough, it's also the world's first completely autonomous soft robot.
The team's work was published in Nature, and you can see the robot in action in the video below.
In case you didn't notice, the robot is inspired by something a little more natural, which also doesn't have any rigid parts. Looking at the bot, it's pretty obvious what that is (an octopus).
Octobot may not be able to traverse the ocean floor with the speed and grace of a real octopus, but what it lacks in agility, it makes up in innovation.
The movements of its legs don't propel it, its legs just kind of flop around controlled by a (completely autonomous) pneumatic system. This is all possible thanks to the power of chemistry. Gas from hydrogen peroxide pushes fluid through Octobot's structure in a specific sequence.
While its not anywhere near as complex (or useful) an many other autonomous bots, it is a good step in the further development of soft robotics.