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Rubbery Material for Soft Robotics Shape-Shifts into Complex Forms on Demand

A liquid crystal elastomer created at Rice University can morph into any sort of sophisticated shape, from a human face to a rose. These complex forms are programmed into the material to appear at ambient, room-temperature conditions and then collapse into a flat sheet when heated. When heat is removed, the shapes display again. The material could be useful for soft robots that mimic organisms.