A robotic fabric appeared that can be used both vertically and horizontally. At the same time, she knows how to remember her original shape and return to it after deformations.
Researchers led by Professor Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio have created a low-power, flexible, and breathable robotic fabric that requires little storage space. This material can be applied as a regular flat fabric or a vertical design.
To incorporate these features into robotic tissue, the team used functional materials and transformed them into fibrous form. Thus, they were able to integrate them into the fabric while maintaining all the properties.
The team used Field’s metal-epoxy composite, which can be flexible like latex rubber or rigid like a solid polymer. Exposing the Field metal at a certain temperature can give it different properties – it melts at a relatively low temperature of 62°C, becoming soft and ductile, but at room temperature, it is fixed in a certain shape.
“A metal-epoxy composite can be flexible, like latex rubber, or tough, like a solid material. Its initial hardness can become a thousand times greater, depending on heating or cooling. Long fibers of this material can be sewn onto the fabric to give it a supporting frame that we can turn on and off”.
researchers from Stanford University
Using these properties, the team of scientists was able to develop a robotic fabric that could not only change shape but also become a load-bearing material – holding up to 50 grams of weight. The sensors, which allowed the tissue to detect and respond to internal and external changes, were made from conductive ink. This non-toxic ink has been used to paint sensors on fabric.
To change the shape, the researchers used an SMA processor that can be programmed to remember a specific shape – for example, a fiber that returns to its original shape after being deformed. The team believes the technology could be used to create self-expanding tents, robotic parachutes, and auxiliary clothing.