Have you ever looked at one of your stuffed animals just sitting there, being inanimate, and think ‘That’s boring’? Well, have I got good news for you!
Researchers from Yale have developed new “robotic skins” technology that allows users to animate inanimate everyday objects, turning them into robots.
The researchers originally developed the technology for NASA since the cost to send multiple robots into space to perform different functions can be very high. The idea behind these skins is to have re-purposeful hardware available while in space.
The skins are comprised of elastic sheets embedded with sensors and actuators and when stuck to, or wrapped around, an inanimate object the actuators can make the object move around, just like a robot.
These skins are designed to be removable and transferable so that the skins could be applied to one object to perform a specific task, then removed and used on another object for a different task.
Researchers say the new technology can bring a whole new variety of robots to life with applications ranging from search-and-rescue to wearable supports.