Robotic Textiles


We are investigating e-textiles and fiber-electronics to develop unique soft-architecture robotic components. We have been developing large area force sensors utilizing quantum tunneling composites integrated into textiles creating fabrics that can cover the body/surface of the robot and sense touch. By using e-textiles we shift from the metaphor of a sensing skin, often used in robotics, to one of sensing clothing. We incorporated apparel design and construction techniques to develop modular e-textile surfaces that can be easily attached to a robot and integrated into a robotic system. Adding new abilities to a robot system can become as simple as changing its clothes. Our goal is to study social touch interaction and communication between people and robots while exploring the benefits of textiles and the textile aesthetic.