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Elastic robocode will cause objects to move

Booth et al. / Science Robotics 2018

American engineers have developed OmniSkins – a robotic skin that is made of soft fabric and equipped with sensors and actuators. With it, you can drive soft objects, and also use on clothes, for example, to correct posture. The article is published in the journal Science Robotics .

Currently, robots can perform a variety of very different functions, subject to man, and even more. Robotic designs are also often used to solve problems that can be dangerous or difficult for a person: for example, rescuing people from rubble or burning buildings.

Most robots have an important drawback: they are trained to do certain things and often can not adjust themselves to a sudden change of situation. Sometimes the fault is the robot’s design: for example, try to correct the situation with soft robots , in the case of which there are no rigid parts.

Researchers at Yale University, led by Joran Booth, decided to go further and made a material that could turn anything into a robot, regardless of the design. Their OmniSkins robotic skin is based on elastic bandages that are equipped with sensors and flexible actuators: the second is necessary for movement, and with the help of the first, the system evaluates the response of the pushed object, programming further actions. With the help of such a robotic skin, you can, for example, “revitalize” a piece of foam pipe or a soft toy.

Another interesting application, which was discovered by the authors of the work, is the use of a robocop skin to correct posture. The presence of sensors that record the hull response can warn the user that he hunched up. You can use this skin with normal clothes.Robotic skin can be taught not only to be responsible for the motility of the controlled objects. For example, recently with the help of a body with a “biological response” engineers have taught the robot to express the mood more qualitatively: depending on the emotion on the body of the robot, thorns or goose bumps may appear.

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