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Soft machines typically exhibit slow locomotion speed and low manipulation strength because of intrinsic limitations of soft materials. Here, we present a generic design principle that harnesses mechanical instability for a variety of spine-inspired fast and strong soft machines. Unlike most current soft robots that are designed as inherently and unimodally stable, our design leverages tunable snap-through bistability to fully explore the ability of soft robots to rapidly store and releasedoi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz6912 pmid:32494714 pmcid:PMC7209986 arXiv:1810.08571v2 fatcat:zgx3wbj6ynfmbjhfl3xpwtcvwm