Carnegie Mellon has the coolest lab names. These stuffed animals, which are for example robots made on knitting machines, are from the Morphing Matter Lab and the Dev Lab of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute of CMU.
The soft robots come from industrial knitting machines, as they were previously created Scarves with volume, in the desired shape and with already embedded tendons. Just add stuffing motors and you have a charming robot.
"Soft robotics is a growing field," says Lea Albaugh, Ph.D. Student, who led the research work. "The idea is to make robots out of materials that are safe for the people around, so it would be very hard to hurt somebody, and soft parts would be cheap to produce on commercial knitting machines."
Albaugh's research relies on previous CMU work to automate commercial knitting. Using knitting machines to embed tendons during soft robot building, researchers have found a way to accurately and efficiently produce robots in mass production.
The tendons can be embedded horizontally, vertically and diagonally in the knitted form, allowing various motion effects as shown in the embedded video. Various chordal materials may be used, including polyester wrapped wraps, silk yarn and nylon.
"We have so many soft objects in our lives, and many of them could be made interactive with this technology," says Albaugh. "A piece of clothing could be part of your personal information system, for example, your sweater may tap your shoulder to grab your attention, and the fabric of a chair can serve as a haptic interface." Backpacks can open. "