They optimized these artificial muscles so the robot can better isolate defects and overcome minor damage, like tiny holes in the actuator. Their repair methods enabled a robot to keep flying even after the researchers cut off 20 percent of its wing tip. This could make swarms of tiny robots better able to perform tasks in tough environments, like conducting a search mission through a collapsing building or dense forest. These artificial muscles are made from layers of elastomer that are sandwiched between two razor-thin electrodes and then rolled into a squishy tube. Chen and his collaborators employed this self-clearing process in their robot repair techniques.