Carnegie Mellon has the most cool lab names. These luxury toys, which are actually robots on knitting machines, for example, came out of the Morphing Matter Lab and CMU Dev Lab at the Human Computer Interaction Institute.
The soft robots come out of industrial knitting machines, the type used to create scarves in their volume, in their desired shapes and with tenders that have already been inserted. Just add stuffing motors and you own a beloved robot.
"Soft robotics is a growing area," says Lea Albaugh, Ph.D. a student who led the research effort. "The idea is to build robots from materials that are inherently safe for people to be close to, so it would be very difficult to hurt someone. Soft components would be cheap to produce on knitting machines t commercial. "
Albaugh's research builds on previous CMU's work to automate commercial knitting. By using the knitting machines to root tendons when building soft robots, the researchers have identified a way to produce mass robots exactly and efficiently.
The tendons can be incorporated horizontally, vertically, and diagonally in the form of knitting, making a variety of motion effects possible, as shown in the video's insertion. Various tendon materials, including quilted yarns, can be wrapped with polyester, silk yarn, and nylon.
"We have so many soft objects in our lives and many of them could be made interactive with this technology," Albaugh said. "A garment could be part of your personal information system. For example, your jumper could tapping you on your shoulder to get your attention. A chair texture could be a haptic interface. Backpacks could open themselves."