Pouch Motors: Printable/Inflatable Soft Actuators for Robotics – Ryuma Niiyama, Daniela Rus, and Sangbae Kim

I really enjoyed learning about these pouch motors. I always imagined robots being made out of hard and smooth materials. These pouch motors show how they can also function when they are made out of both hard and soft materials.

What feature of the work could we specifically evolve into a technique for wearable kinetic sculpture or costume? 

The artists connect hard material (for the actual robot) with inflatable plastic materials to create movement when inflated. When inflating and deflating the plastic material, it either pushes or pulls the original pieces it is connected to. We can use this pull and push feature in wearable kinetic sculpture/costume.

What details of the artist or concept are not immediately apparent and how do they inform the work?

How the air flows in and out of the plastic material and whether every robotic piece only has one component that controls the airflow is not immediately apparent. If we pay close attention to the tubes connecting to the plastic material and its movement, we can better see how the air flows. It is also important that each robot uses only one airflow component as it better controls its overall movement.

Are there closely related works?

Yes, Sticky Actuator is something closely related. They both use airflow to inflate/deflate the plastic piece to then get the effect of pushing or pulling the hard surfaces.