Wild Technology

Robotic Skin Can Turn Everyday Objects Into Robots

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When we talk about robotics, its more about the rigidity and heaviness and a specific task. But the Yale researchers have now developed “robotic skin” to turn any inanimate object into a robot. This wild technology will enable users to build their own robotic systems. The researchers have published their study  in the journal Science Robotics.

Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science mentions that the robotic skin is not build for any particular motive. It is usable for everything from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies.

Tech behind Robotic skin:

The robotic skin are basically elastic sheets with sensors and actuators in it. They can be put on deformable objects such as a soft toy. And then the skin will animate the objects from their surfaces. Therefore, these “soft toy robots” can perform a variety of tasks according to their properties and the applied skin.

“We can take the skins and wrap them around one object to perform a task – locomotion, for example. And then take them off and put them on a different object to perform a different task, such as grasping and moving an object,”Rebecca said. “We can then take those same skins off that object and put them on a shirt to make an active wearable device.”

Also, the robotic skin is comfortable for more complex movements. We can layer the skins to gain different motions, for example- simultaneous compression and bending. For the demonstration of robotic skin, researchers created a handful of prototypes. These includes foam cylinders – move like inchworms. Shirt-like wearable device designed to correct wrong posture. A gripper device that can grasp and move things.

What’s next?

It is important to note that this technology is developed with the partnership of NASA. It is multi-functional and reusable in nature which will help astronauts to reconfigure material. “One of the main things I considered was the importance of multi-functionality, especially for deep space exploration where the environment is unpredictable,” she continued. “The question is: How do you prepare for the unknown unknowns?”

Rebecca was awarded with a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of its Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program. The lab work is still in process and the next innovation in line is 3D printing the components of this tech. Click here for more such wild articles. Follow Techie Scoops on Instagram to stay up to date with latest tech trends.

 

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