Soft robotics

Welcome to the Bristol SoftLab, home of Soft Robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and University of Bristol.

For our latest news please see our Twitter page: here

** NEW: funded PhD places are available in SoftLab, including Chinese Scholarship Coucil (CSC) scholarships.  Please see our page: here  ** 

The SoftLab focuses on the research and development of novel compliant systems and soft robotic technologies.  Softness and compliance are exploited by Nature in almost all organisms and these properties are crucial for future robotic, wearable and human-interaction technologies.  We aim to enhance our understanding of why compliance is needed, how to control and exploit it, and where to apply and exploit it to maximise societal and scientific impact.

Our research encompasses the full spectrum of soft robotics research and development from smart materials, through soft-smart mechanisms to complete soft machines and devices.

Smart Materials

  • Electroactive, thermal, photonic, chemical
  • Biodegradable, edible
  • Sensors, actuators, energy harvesting
  • Materials modelling and control …+ more

Soft-smart Mechanisms

  • Adaptive morphology
  • Multi-stability and multi-degree of freedom
  • Minimum energy structures
  • Mechanism modelling …+ more

Soft Machines

  • Artificial robotic organisms
  • Implantable medical devices
  • Wearable assist devices
  • Self-adapting morphological machines …+ more


  • Healthcare
  • Virtual reality
  • Environmental monitoring and remediation
  • Manufacturing and agriculture …+ more

Related links

Faculty of Engineering

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