At MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group, a new technology has formed, and it might just be one of the components for many inventions in the future.
Firstly, hair is important on animals, it’s how some organisms sense things around themselves in the form whiskers and cilia. It also gives texture and makes things stick, like Velcro.
What if we could program these hairs in order to create bots with fiber sensitivity? The Group’s project is called Cilllia, their mission is to create these 3D printed fibers and apply other technologies to them in order to enhance our understanding of their potential functions. Each hair varies its diameter from 150 to 50 micrometers, creating a coat of artificial fur that we can then add vibrations to. When vibrating the material, we can use the hair as a vertical and horizontal motor, a movement platform and even a sensor when attached to a microphone.
This could be the beginning of artificial organisms, such as a furry bot, that can sense it’s surroundings with nothing but sensitive hair fibers. The technology also eliminates unnecessary energy use by creating a sensor that can run on nothing but vibrations without a microphone (such as echo-location).
Read the full study and experiment here: tmg-trackr.media.mit.edu