A group of researchers from the MIT and the University of Tokyo managed to breathe life into everyday objects with a cheap and easy-to-use pneumatic device. They call their invention the Sticky Actuator, a small plastic pouch that moves objects when air is pumped in or out of it.
The researchers created two main types of Sticky Actuators. An individual pouch and a strip of pouches that are all inflated and deflated through a single tube. The researchers made Sticky Actuators using a CNC machine that’s been fitted with a heated metal tip. The machine can seal a pair of plastic sheets into pouches of varying shapes.
Here are a few examples of Sticky Actuators in action:
Sticky Actuators provide an easy and fun way to prototype or play with animated objects, and could be useful in puppetry as well. They can be operated with a gamepad-like controller and are so simple even children can install them.
Although the researchers’ controllers can only switch Sticky Actuators in two states – deflated or inflated – it’s entirely possible to gradually control the air flowing into or out of the pouches. They can also be automated with the help of sensors. Inflate a browser and read the group’s paper on MIT’s website for more information.
[via Laughing Squid]