<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.09/article/5ba3e143fc7e93a5108b45ad.JPG"> <figcaption>© Yale University / <span class="copyright">YouTube</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>Yale researchers have created a new ‘robotic skin’ design that can pretty much turn any inanimate object into a multifunctional robot at a moment’s notice.</strong> The transformative ‘skins’ were developed in partnership with NASA under the premise of sending repurposable hardware into space. The skins are made up of sheets of elastic, embedded with pairs of sensors and actuators, which can be wrapped around a flexible object, effectively turning it into a robot.
Using a controller, the makeshift robot can then be directed to perform a variety of tasks depending on the property of the object 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,” study co-author Rebecca 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.”
The skins were developed with no specific purpose in mind but the possibilities are wide ranging, from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies.