Cornell University's Human-Robot Collaboration and Companionship Lab is developing a robot designed to explore textual communication via a pneumatically driven elastomer skin that can generate goosebumps or spikes.
The machine features two texture modules, one on each side, that must be gripped during interaction. Each module is composed of elastomer-impregnated texture units in a grid configuration that actuate simultaneously. Pressurized air pumped into the units through connecting channels induces inflation, forming visible, tactile shapes.
The prototype's texture units either form rounded domes (goosebumps) or rigid structures (spikes), which reflect whatever emotion the robots want to communicate.
Cornell's Guy Hoffman says the team is currently focused on using the robots to map emotions to tactile expressions.
From IEEE Spectrum
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