Humans and robots are increasingly working together. To make this collaboration as safe as possible for people and for the work they do, “soft robots” made of flexible and soft materials are becoming common. However, their soft materials make these robots very vulnerable to damage by sharp objects or excessive pressure. The repairs needed to get them back to work often cost a lot of time or money, which means damaged robots are often discarded. For his doctorate at VUB, Seppe Terryn developed a solution to this problem using self-healing polymers, under the supervision of promoters Prof. Guy Van Assche and Prof. Dirk Lefeber. The special material consisting of rubbery polymers with a built-in healing capacity takes effect after heating.
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