Smart fabric responds to both temperature and electricity

May 22nd, 2023

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, say that a new smart fabric is the first to change both color and shape in response to two different stimuli. Inexpensively made with polymer nanocomposite fibers from recycled plastic, the material is activated by both heat and electricity and is programmable.  The unique design paves […]

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Biomimetic soft “seed robot” can navigate through soil

May 8th, 2023

Researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova have created what they say is the first 4D-printed, biomimetic, biodegradable, soft robot that changes shape in response to humidity and can navigate through soil. The researchers say the device has great potential as a new means of monitoring the environment. Photo: Istituto Italiano di Tecnología. 4D […]

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Magnetic biomedical devices can pop into shape as needed

April 24th, 2023

As MaSoChain instruments are pushed out of a catheter, magnets within their segments cause them to take on predetermined shapes. Photo: ETH Zurich / Nicole Davidson. One of the challenges of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery lies in getting surgical instruments into the patient's body via a narrow catheter. Scientists have set about addressing that problem […]

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Re-defining soft robotics with self-healing, conductive gel

April 10th, 2023

An external strip of the gel connects the battery to the motor on this soft robotic snail. Photo: Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering. A new material could help produce self-healing and conductive robotic devices that are also soft. Developed by a team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, the substance consists of a gelatinous […]

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Automated knitting streamlines fabrication of assistive wearables

May 9th, 2022

MIT scientists have used autonomous knitting to create soft, wearable assistive robotics with integrated sensing. Photo: MIT, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).  Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have devised a scalable pipeline to computationally design and digitally fabricate soft pneumatic actuators. “PneuAct” has addressed an issue with soft robotics, […]

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Progress through collaboration

April 25th, 2022

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) presented and exhibited at the Smart Fabrics Summit, showing AFFOA advanced functional fiber preforms and advanced fibers demonstrating semiconductor devices (LED chips) embedded into fibers. The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) continues to be in the forefront of new developments in technologies for advanced textile systems. Michelle Farrington, […]

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Deployable inflatable robotics have multiple applications

November 8th, 2021

A soft, inflatable robotic hand is capable of grasping an item with accuracy without damaging it. Photo: Ryzing Technologies.  Robotics. Flexible robotics. Flexible, inflatable robotics. Deployable, inflatable robotic systems. At each step this method of addressing a range of challenges gets more complex, but the possibilities for its practical uses grow, as well. The fundamental […]

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Inflatable hand could give amputees real-time tactile control

September 27th, 2021

An MIT-developed inflatable robotic smart hand gives amputees real-time tactile control, is soft, elastic and costs a fraction of comparable prosthetics. Photo: MIT/the researchers.  Engineers at MIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have designed a soft, lightweight and potentially low-cost neuro-prosthetic hand that can give an amputee the ability to perform daily activities with dexterity. […]

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Robotics go underground

July 26th, 2021

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed a fast, steerable, burrowing soft robot. Photo: Hawkes Lab/UCSB.  Plant growth and burrowing animals inspire breakthrough technology. by Janet Preus Soft robotics have received deserved attention lately, and ongoing research is demonstrating real progress in this science, particularly when used in exoskeletons. Mobile robots that can […]

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A “smart foam” could give machines a sense of touch

May 24th, 2021

As smart as robots and machines are becoming, the sense of touch and the ability to feel complexities in the machine’s surroundings is still reserved for humans. But a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have now invented a "smart foam" that can give machines more than a human touch. National […]

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