In minimally invasive surgeries, retractors are used to hold back soft tissue to reveal the operative site, allowing a clear working space and sightline for the camera. Current standard retractors have several fine metallic blades which open like a fan. As well as being expensive, these fan retractors can inadvertently cause penetration and laceration injuries to soft tissue causing significant complications. Gaps exist between the blades; hence force is not applied evenly across the retracted organ causing large pressures to be applied at contact points. This can damage the organ, stop blood flow, and permanently compromise function. In addition, current instruments lack the required flexibility to work effectively through abdominal or thoracoscopic ports of different diameters.