Could shape-shifting elastomer transform the way mechanical devices work?

Ambitious researchers behind a shape-shifting sheet with power density similar to natural muscles have claimed it could transform the way that mechanical devices work. Announcing the research, the team from Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Seas) asked: What if we could mimic shape changes and movements found in nature?
Natural systems can perform complex functions with soft components more directly than mechanical systems, which rely on linear or rotational movement with stiff components. For example, the researchers said, our eyes change focal point by simply contracting muscles to change the shape of the cornea. In contrast, cameras focus by moving solid lenses along a line, either manually or by autofocus.

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