Twitchy Robot Hugs Your Stuffed Animals

Stephanie Schnebly, Contributor

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Recently, a team of researchers found in Yale University have created a robot that is able to give all plushy and soft things a movable exterior. Robots are usually perceived as “rigid, heavy, and built for a specific purpose.” (Yale News) but these newly developed robots, are exactly the opposite. They have invented this in a special laboratory in Yale called the “Fabratory” in which they were able to develop this new technological advancement. “Kramer-Bottiglio said in a statement. “We can then take those same skins off that object and put them on a shirt to make an active wearable device.” (Live Science) this new machine can make your plushies literally get up and walk away. The robots are designed to fit anything from a stuffed animal to a t-shirt. The robots, though odd-looking, have an interesting way of working.

The robot is set up to encase a soft object so as to have control over its movements. According to Kramer-Bottiglio, “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,” (Yale News) these robots are able to perform tasks on various different objects, which seems to make the robot “flexible” in the way it performs. Though there is one main robot that is well known as the face of this new invention, there are actually various different types that have different ways of moving yet all perform with soft objects.
There are different robots for different movements, according to Yale News, “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.” these all are useful for everyday life. The different robots are all performing tasks with the soft bodies yet at the same time have different objects to give movement to.
Though these robots are very useful for everyday life on earth, their actual purpose is out of this world. a few years ago, “ NASA put out a call for soft robotic systems. The technology was designed in partnership with NASA,” (Yale News) this means that the technology could be used to create new space suits or other specific items to give astronauts an easier time while they are performing missions for future times. Though NASA did not specify what the soft body robot they wanted would specifically do, it is confirmed that the robots will further the advancement of space travel and maybe someday soon, space colonization.

Even if the research and development for this new technology was created for outer space, these new robots can give humans an advancement for future products. With this scientific breakthrough, many now feel it possible to create more things out of simple objects like a crumpled piece of paper into a robot for good use in the future. But for now, the technology has just begun to develop while the field of scientific advances. Due to this new science and technology improvement, the scientist who is responsible for this experiment has been given an award of “a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of its Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program.” which she says will be used to improve this technology. Though this robot was created already, scientists say they will be improving the technology by trying to create the parts used for the robot in a 3D printer. Many believe there are many great things that are yet to come from this new advancement and humans cannot wait for what is to come.

Sources: https://news.yale.edu/2018/09/19/robotic-skins-turn-everyday-objects-robots

https://www.livescience.com/63637-soft-robot-facehugger.html

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Stephanie Schnebly, Contributor

I am a Junior who aspires to be an animator. I have five birds, two dogs and two fish. I usually draw in my free time but I also like to play video games....

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