Robot Skins – Turning Everyday Objects into Bots

Bringing inanimate objects to life has for long been the premise of many fiction and fantastical books and movies – Toy Story, objects in Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast and so many more. The way it is portrayed in this fictional realm makes us wish it was true sometimes. Well, because engineering abroad continues to make strides with its research and development, we might be closer to making this a reality.  Engineers and scientists of Yale University have developed a new technology that can take humankind one step closer to making these fantasies real. The Yale researchers have invented Robot Skins that challenge the notion that robots can only be rigid objects designed for specific purposes; these Robot Skins have the ability to ‘bring life’ to inanimate objects by turning them into robots.

This technology developed in association with NASA, is multifunctional and reusable and can turn anything from a piece of crumpled up paper to a stuffed toy into a robot. This technology has been in the works for a while in the department of mechanical engineering and material science. These robotic skins are made of elastic sheets with sensors that activate the object it is attached to, from its surface.


Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, the lead researcher on this project, said that this technology was initially designed and developed along with NASA with the goal to provide astronauts the ability to perform additional functions with the same material — a cost-effective alternative to building robots. But, these Robot Skins can be used for everything from search-and-rescue robots to wearable technologies.

According to her, the goal of the technology is so ‘a user can create robots on-the-fly to accomplish variable tasks on demand.’ Scholars and experts everywhere are deeming this project as one of the most useful technologies, because of its versatility and reusability. Apart from its usage in space, scientists are really hoping for these robot skins to be a breakthrough in rescue operations. While the robotic skins are not consumer-ready yet, the team assured that it will be in the near future.

Researchers and scientists across the world are making massive contributions to the world and if that’s what you want to do too, then you’ve got to start right. There are various options for anyone looking to study abroad and be a part of impressive research projects such as this. One such option is the International Transfer Program at one of Manipal University’s premium institutions, International Center for Applied Sciences. This program allows students to pursue the last two years of their engineering or B.Tech abroad, in one of the many prestigious universities ICAS Manipal is associated with. So, take your first step towards your dream with the right choices.

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