Soft Robotics: Flat-Patterned Inflatables

For my flat-patterned inflatables exploration, I focused on a butterfly-like shape and tried a few different styles of internal restrains/internal welds to attempt to direct the movement in a more intentional manner.

The main factors I varied throughout my designs were the orientation and size of the internal welds. For one of the designs, I played with changing the shape of the primary air channel, but that was my least successful form (Experiment #3).

I’ve presented my sketches below, along with the relevant videos.

(Special thank you to Jackie Liu who appears in some of the documentation!)

Experiment #1

Experiment #2

Experiment #3

Experiment #4

Experiment #5

If there’s time, I would love to try some of my “Designs I did not built (yet)” drawings on the lasercutter.


Homemade Hardware: Eagle Board Designs

This was my first time designing in Eagle, and for each of the boards below, and I had the creeping suspicion that there were better ways to do things. I had a few “Via” routes on my board, and I’m curious to know if there’s a elegant way to reconfigure things.

ATTiny Programming Jig

ATTiny LED + Potentiometer Circuit

ATTiny Transistor Circuit


Soft Robotics: Big Box Store

I’m not entirely certain if Blick counts as a “big box store,” but that’s where I hunted down potential soft materials this weekend. Some were materials that felt a bit obvious as soft materials, and other items felt that they could be considered within our particular realm of soft things depending on how they were used.

1: Socks

Socks are soft in texture (particularly these), and has some built in elastics. Socks do tend to stretch out over time, but for a while, maintain some tensile elasticity.

2: Rubber Toy

Stretchy, delightful! Has both compressive and tensile elasticity.

3: Rubber Roller

This is technically a combination of both soft and hard materials. I liked the squish of the roller, and I liked its potential as a point of interaction.

4: Felt/Wool

This material can be reshaped into felt structures. It has “squish,”” and somewhat more limited “stretch.”

5: Ribbon

This material is not very elastic, but is quite flexible. It could be used in cable-control projects, and has a nice silkiness.

6: Linoleum Square

I don’t recall encountering linoleum squares like this before, and I kind of loved them! They are not very elastic, but has a really interesting flexibility (a pleasant amount of resistance to force).

7: Dual-toned Sequins

The stretchiness of the dual-toned sequined cloth varies quite a bit from fabric to fabric, but I really enjoy both its the texture and visual effect.

8: Chain

Chains aren’t really soft materials, but they behave like soft materials in how it moves as a whole (rather than its individual links). The whole is flexible, though it is made of rigid parts.

9: Open Weave Muslin

I liked the netting of this fabric – it seems like it would be quite easy to attach other items through its structure. It reminds me of a breadboard!

10: Tape

This feels like a soft classic, like paper or string! Fairly flexible, but not very elastic.

11: Leather

Another soft classic – limited tensile elasticity.

12: String + Yarn

Quite flexible, and elasticity varies quite a bit from string to string. For the materials represented here, most are tougher fibers with limited elasticity.

13: Silicone

Silicone has a really great feel. Julia Rich ran a workshop in which we made silicone copies of our thumbs, and since then, I’ve been really interested in using more silicone in my projects.


Soft Robotics: Cable Control Experiments

I did a few very simple experiments with cable controls. I am not the best crafter, so I wanted to be very systematic about how to make my cable controls function.

The basic form of my cable control was a set of straws, punctuated with small diamond shape holes with a string anchored at the top of the and pulled through to the bottom (where I could pull it).

For this assignment, I varied whole size and distance between holes to see how it impacted behavior.

The setup is below:

You can see how the variables affected their movement here:

My favorite was #2, which had the largest hole at the top of the straw (in contrast to #1, which had the largest hole towards the bottom). The larger holes essentially folded first, making the motion that resulted more of a curl.


Fungus Among Us: Final Presentation Idea

What might a mycelium computer interface look like? Could mycelium serve as conductive elements or are they better used as sensors or chemical actuators? Based on Stamets work, it seems as though ecological management is a natural point of collaboration between humans, computers, and fungi.

I would be interested in exploring these ideas within the context of extreme environments such as space. I plan to dig into the work NASA has already done in research the growth and use of fungi in space.