Soft robotics has been a promising yet underdeveloped field of technology since it’s inception. Rather than utilizing the rigid and heavy frames of traditional metallic robotics, much lighter and pliable materials are incorporated through soft robotics. The premise and mechanics behind the technology have failed to yield practical results since the looming constraint has been the limited strength of the material. Recently, researchers from renowned institutes Harvard and MIT have developed a new method of building soft robotics that incorporates a dense origami skeleton that enables a soft robotic machine to lift up to a thousand times it’s own weight.
Applications of this technology have tremendous potential to redefine technologically driven industries like product manufacturers, produce distributors, and virtually any field where logistic operations require fragile handling. While the prospect of improving efficiency within the manufacturing and distribution industry is coveted, such transitions is likely to require less human labor. However, this does provide a seemingly safer working environment by reducing the potential of exposure to work place incidents since soft robotics would be replacing the workforce. This also includes handling toxic and harmful chemicals that are commonplace in some production companies.
Replacing dedicated employee training programs and yearly costs of labor with programmed specialized robotics coupled with routine maintenance is an efficient solution. While traditional jobs would be replaced, the opportunity to fill in the essential technical roles that are created in such fields. Maintenance and mechanical supervision is still a vital field of employment for people but is less practical for the older workforce that is being substituted. Finding a proper transitional role for labor that’s being outsourced is a dilemma created by employers but should be resolved by other employers. What drives industries and the professional world are people so finding a way to help everyday people find employment is essential.