project specification

OmniSkins

NASA-inspired robotic skins enable users to turn soft objects into robots. A robotic skin which enables users to design their own robotic systems; from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies. The skins are made from elastic sheets embedded with sensors and actuators. The makeshift robots can perform different tasks depending on the properties of the soft objects and how the skins are applied. The skins can be wrapped around one object to perform a task, (e.g: locomotion)— and then be taken off and put on a different object to perform a different task.

Overview

A robotic skin which enables users to design their own robotic systems; from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies. The skins are made from elastic sheets embedded with sensors and actuators. The makeshift robots can perform different tasks depending on the properties of the soft objects and how the skins are applied. 

The skins can be wrapped around one object to perform a task, (e.g: locomotion)— and then be taken off and put on a different object to perform a different task.

Fabric-based robotic skins were composed of either coiled Nitinol SMA actuators or McKibben pneumatic actuators attached at their ends to a spandex substrate. The skins were controlled  using logic controllers.

The technology was designed in partnership with NASA, and its multifunctional and reusable nature would allow astronauts to accomplish an array of tasks with the same reconfigurable material. The same skins used to make a robotic arm out of a piece of foam could be removed and applied to create a soft Mars rover that can roll over rough terrain. 

References

Describes the design of robotic skins, and the reconfiguring robotic skins and soft bodies enabled multifunctionality.

J. Booth, D. Shah, J. Case, et al. - Article ScienceMag, 2018 (paywall)

Wevolver 2022