Soft robotics is a recent and rapidly growing field of research, which aims at unveiling the principles for building robots that include soft materials and compliance in the interaction with the environment, so as to exploit so-called embodied intelligence and negotiate natural environment more effectively. Using soft materials for building robots poses new technological challenges: the technologies for actuating soft materials, for embedding sensors into soft robot parts, for controlling soft robots are among the main ones. This is stimulating research in many disciplines and many countries, such that a wide community is gathering around initiatives like the IEEE TAS TC on Soft Robotics and the RoboSoft CA – A Coordination Action for Soft Robotics, funded by the European Commission. Though still in its early stages of development, soft robotics is finding its way in a variety of applications, where safe contact is a main issue, in the biomedical field, as well as in exploration tasks and in the manufacturing industry. And though the development of the enabling technologies is still a priority, a fruitful loop is growing between basic research and application-oriented research in soft robotics.