Latest in Fabric

Image credit:

Robotic fabric acts like a muscle, makes foam blocks wriggle

46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

When we think about robotics, we don't typically think about a lump of inert foam -- but with the right clothing, it counts. Researchers at Purdue University are developing a robotic fabric that can be used to make so-called "soft" robots out of foam and other lightweight materials. The team has embedded fabric with a flexible polymer that changes shape and rigidity when heated, allowing it to be contracted or relaxed at will. Wrap a specifically assigned swatch of this cloth around a piece of foam, and it can be coaxed into bending, wriggling or moving in specific ways. "We will be able to design reboots on the fly," Purdue University's Rebecca Kramer says. "Anything can be a robot because all of the robotic technology is in the fabric or skin."

The material could conceivably be used in space missions, as an easy means to build exploration robots with cheap, lightweight material that can be transported easily. In fact, Purdue's research is related to work Kramer did though a NASA Early Career Faculty award based on elastic skins for soft robotics. Even so, robots aren't the only potential application: the fabric could also be used to build strength enhancing clothing and medical braces that offer extra support.

[Image credit: Purdue University / Rebecca Kramer]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
46 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Tesla's relaunched solar power efforts include $50 panel rentals

Tesla's relaunched solar power efforts include $50 panel rentals

View
After Math: Plead the fifth

After Math: Plead the fifth

View
The best smart home sensors for Alexa

The best smart home sensors for Alexa

View
Drako's GTE electric supercar will be a four-motor, 1,200HP monster

Drako's GTE electric supercar will be a four-motor, 1,200HP monster

View
Nintendo says there is no Switch exchange program

Nintendo says there is no Switch exchange program

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr