Stress-adjustable fluidic fiber actuators for flexible robotic textiles and autonomous garments – MIT Media Lab


OmniFiber concept

Thin linear shapes are humble yet ubiquitous geometric building blocks found in nature and the human body. For example, human skeletal muscle tissue, which helps navigate our locomotion and consciously controlled movements, is a collection of muscle fiber modules that make up 30% of our body weight. Such primitive man-made muscle fibers resembling those of the human body have been explored in the field of robotics as flexible exoskeletons to assist body movements. In this work, we use such a thin and flexible fiber form factor as a configurable building block to create dynamic, motion-based interactions.

OmniFiber is a novel method of designing interactions with dynamic movement using a fiber form factor based on fine artificial muscle fibers actuated by a fluid. The design system is based on slender McKibben muscles made up of filaments wrapped around elastomeric chambers surrounded by a woven sleeve that mechanically alters actuation behavior. The actuators are thin (ø = 600m at 1.8mm) and flexible enough to improve the conformability of artificial muscles for portable devices, while having fast response time (


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