When you think of robotics, you likely think of something rigid, heavy, and built for a specific purpose. New “Robotic Skins” technology developed by Yale researchers flips that notion on its head, allowing users to animate the inanimate and turn everyday objects into robots.
Developed in the lab of Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science, robotic skins enable users to design their own robotic systems. Although the skins are designed with no specific task in mind, Kramer-Bottiglio said, they could be used for everything from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies. The results of the team’s work are published today in Science Robotics.
The skins are made from elastic sheets embedded with sensors and actuators developed in Kramer-Bottiglio’s lab. Placed on a deformable object — a stuffed animal or a foam tube, for instance — the skins animate these objects from their surfaces. The makeshift robots can perform different tasks depending on the properties of the soft objects and how the skins are applied.
“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,” she said. “We can then take those same skins off that object and put them on a shirt to make an active wearable device.”
Robots are typically built with a single purpose in mind. The robotic skins, however, allow users to create multi-functional robots on the fly. That means they can be used in settings that hadn’t even been considered when they were designed, said Kramer-Bottiglio.
Additionally, using more than one skin at a time allows for more complex movements. For instance, Kramer-Bottiglio said, you can layer the skins to get different types of motion. “Now we can get combined modes of actuation — for example, simultaneous compression and bending.”
To demonstrate the robotic skins in action, the researchers created a handful of prototypes. These include foam cylinders that move like an inchworm, a shirt-like wearable device designed to correct poor posture, and a device with a gripper that can grasp and move objects.
Kramer-Bottiglio said she came up with the idea for the devices a few years ago when NASA put out a call for soft robotic systems. The technology was designed in partnership with NASA, and its multifunctional and reusable nature would allow astronauts to accomplish an array of tasks with the same reconfigurable material. The same skins used to make a robotic arm out of a piece of foam could be removed and applied to create a soft Mars rover that can roll over rough terrain. With the robotic skins on board, the Yale scientist said, anything from balloons to balls of crumpled paper could potentially be made into a robot with a purpose.
“One of the main things I considered was the importance of multifunctionality, especially for deep space exploration where the environment is unpredictable,” she said. “The question is: How do you prepare for the unknown unknowns?”
For the same line of research, Kramer-Bottiglio was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of its Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program.
Next, she said, the lab will work on streamlining the devices and explore the possibility of 3D printing the components.
The Latest on: Robotic skins
via Google News
The Latest on: Robotic skins
- Diagnostic Robotics raises $45M Series Bon August 1, 2022 at 12:59 pm
Israel-based Diagnostic Robotics announced recently that it has closed a $45 million Series B financing round.
- Mecha Simulator Codes - Free Mechs And Skinson August 1, 2022 at 5:30 am
Check out these latest Mecha Simulator codes for free mechs and skins in the game. These will give you a big boost, so make sure to check back soon.
- MIT researchers create skin patch that takes continuous ultrasound imageson July 29, 2022 at 8:28 am
The future of ultrasound imaging could be a sticker affixed to the skin that can transmit images continuously for 48 hours.
- Artificial skin sweats on commandon July 27, 2022 at 8:04 am
Following the breakthrough with their first sweating artificial skin two years ago, Danqing Liu's multidisciplinary team hasn't been sitting still. Their goal: an artificial skin that sweats as ...
- World’s first robot laser skin treatment created in Hong Kongon July 22, 2022 at 4:33 am
A tech company in Hong Kong says it has developed the world’s first artificially intelligent laser skin treatment, which scans and detects the heat, sensitivity and shape of a customer’s face. Rods ...
- Mastermind behind human touch robot skin awarded The Princess Royal Silver Medalon July 21, 2022 at 7:36 am
A young engineer whose County Durham company is pioneering technology that gives robots human-like touch sense has been handed a prestigious award for innovators. Dr Atif Syed, who founded ...
- Skin: An additional tool for the versatile elephant trunkon July 17, 2022 at 4:59 pm
The researchers say the elephant findings suggest that wrapping soft robotics with a skin-like structure could give the machines protection and strength while continuing to allow flexibility.
- Multisensory Hybrid Material Developed for Robotic Skinon July 17, 2022 at 4:59 pm
One of the latest technologies to be developed for this purpose is from researcher Anna Maria Coclite of TU Graz in Austria, who developed a smart skin for both robotics and prosthetic devices that ...
- Robots could soon feel sensations ‘just like humans’ thanks to new ‘skin’ – and could even help prevent canceron July 13, 2022 at 11:26 pm
A TEAM of Scots boffins have developed a robot “skin” that is able to “feel” pain and even detect sunburn. It is believed the breakthrough will take technology to the next level as robots ...
via Bing News