MIT Media Labs Project Kino have improved on their Rovables technology, which presents robots that could roam over a person's body. The team now explores a future in which the accessories we wear are no longer static, but are instead mobile, living objects on the body. Engineered with the functionality of miniaturized robotics, this "living" jewelry roams on unmodified clothing, changing location and reconfiguring appearance according to the wearer's desires.
With the addition of sensor devices, the mobile robots can actively respond to environmental conditions. They can also be paired with existing mobile devices to become personalized on-body assistants to help complete tasks. Attached to garments, they generate shape-changing clothing and kinetic pattern designs—creating a new, dynamic fashion.
The team's vision is that in the future, these robots will be miniaturized to the extent that they can be seamlessly integrated into existing practices of body ornamentation. With the addition of kinetic capabilities, traditionally static jewelry and accessories will start displaying life-like qualities, learning, shifting, and reconfiguring to the needs and preferences of the wearer.
Shape-changing jewelry: Multiple devices can become building blocks to form jewelry design. With its mobility, the individual pieces can form various shapes and designs. The team presents an application of a jewelry set that transistions between a minimalistic brooch for going to work, and a necklace statement piece for going out.
Climate Reactive Clothing: The robots can trigger clothing to actively adapt based on the climate or comfort needs of the wearer. The team created a coat and connected each drawstring of the hood to a device. Upon detecting an increase in temperature, the devices move downwards to unfold the hood.
Etching patterns: When moving, the devices can etch into specific fabrics and "draw" patterns. On fabrics such as velvet, the robots leave visible tracks during movement - the clothing becomes a canvas to etch designs. The traces are temporary and therefore new patterns can be generated.
Source and top image: MIT Media Lab
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