"Robotic skin" will bring any motionless objects to life

Most modern robots are created either highly specialized or universal and therefore not really suitable for anything. At Yale University (USA) they tried to find a middle ground and developed what they called "robotic skin." It is a flexible construction with integrated mechanisms and sensors that can be pulled over various objects. And thus give them the properties of a robot.

It would be more correct to call it robotic muscles, not skin, because they do not cover the object on which they are attached, but add a new active layer to it. If you wrap such a product around the legs of a toy horse, it can move - but if you fasten just a few fragments around the container, they will cause it to roll or crawl in the right direction. The speed and accuracy of movement leaves much to be desired, but this is just a prototype, but the concept itself deserves close attention.

The robotic skin is an order from NASA, where engineers were tasked with creating a system for propelling various things that astronauts could use in any conditions. Simply because they only have a limited set of parts and every part must be versatile. To make a system for transporting goods, active fasteners for equipment, a prosthesis for a broken leg - the range of tasks can be extended endlessly.

But the main question is: how to prepare the equipment for the meeting with the unknown? What to take with us and how it should work if we do not even know approximately what we will face? Modular design, movable elements in each node, sensors for analyzing the current situation and control systems that can work autonomously or as part of a huge and complex structure. Against the background of such requests, the "revived" toy horse really seems like a toy, but it all starts small.