Robotic Skin in the Game

Killer toys

Have you ever imagined your Teddy Bear getting up and walking around the room? Some robotics researchers have made that nightmare a potential reality.

A team at Yale University has created “robotic skins” that can be used to manipulate inanimate objects into motion. Effectively, any object the skin can wrap around and move becomes a robot. (Did someone say Chucky doll?)

More seriously

The technology was originally developed for NASA. The “skins” are easily attached and removed, in theory enabling astronauts to repurpose hardware in space. The more use NASA can get out of each individual piece of tech, the less it has to ship into outer space.

Apparently, Amazon Prime does not yet reach the International Space Station.

It wasn’t me, my skin made me do it!

The skins, which facilitate motion through elastic sheets containing sensors, can be layered for more complex movements. Thanks to robotic skins, “Is your refrigerator running?” may no longer be a corny joke.Well, it’ll still be corny, but it could also be true.

A more likely commercial application: Robotic skin could join the growing roster of “wearable” tech. Yale’s researchers have already been using it to track posture. So while your Apple Watch alerts you to stand up every hour, a robotic skin cardigan might right your slouching posture.

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