[Soft Robots] Material Connexion

Our class reviewed the Material Connexion’s material database, and after that, we visited their showroom, which features the newest materials in the collection.

Despite the gorgeous polymer materials, I at first felt obligated to be drawn to natural materials, though I’m not sure if naturally extracted materials would even be more sustainable in every case. Either way, they were beautiful in their own right. Some materials from the ocean were interesting and other natural materials that obtained from cotton fiber, wool, paper were astonishing too.

Among the natural materials, sound absorbing panels made from natural, hand-picked Scandinavian Reindeer Moss really attracted me. According to the material’s description, the porous nature of the surface makes it ideal for the absorption of sound waves from multiple directions.

Here is strong, durable, lightweight brick that is made from recycled newspapers. It is sturdy and stackable like traditional clay bricks but has a soft, fabric-like texture. It seems fair enough to use for prototyping construction or installation.

After the visual spectacle wore off, there were a couple of materials I kept thinking about after I left.

I think these kinds of elastic fabric materials that conductive, or that enable to interact with the computer system are adequate for wearables and communicate with soft robotics objects.

And for my project, I’m interested in this conductive fabric cable which contains enameled copper wire in it. It is flexible, and maybe even somewhat elastic. Here is the description of it from material connexion’s database.

I attempt to prototyping with this kind of conductive soft material so that can be used as restrains and electromagnetic to manipulate inflatable actuator’s movement programmatically.

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