Researchers in Belgium say they have created robots that can "heal their own wounds," said Matt Simon at Wired. The squishy robots, made of rubbery polymers that look a little like jelly, can repair rips or tears in their material when heat is applied. As the material warms up and then cools, the network of microscopic chains in the polymer stitches itself back together, "mimicking the way an animal seals up a wound."
Soft machines are a burgeoning area of robotics; they "can interact with humans without killing them and pick up squishy objects like tomatoes." In the long term, the team at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is working on creating a similar material that will be loaded with sensors so the robot can tell "exactly where a wound opens up, then deploy targeted heat to the area to heal it."