Disney Research designs 3D-printed soft skin system for toy robots
Baymax is the perfect healthcare companion, because he's soft and doesn't have any sharp edges that could hurt his patients. That's why it's no surprise that when Disney Research wanted to create a toy robot that's safe to play with, the researchers ended up making something that looks like it was plucked right out of his body. A team from the laboratory 3D printed a couple of limb-like robotic parts with soft outer skin that conceals hard plastic components. That soft, rubbery exterior can keep both robot and owner safe, while the air-tight cavity inside can sense pressure. When connected to a robotic system that has pressure feedback control, the cylindrical limbs can handle even delicate objects like a block of tofu. Of course, you can't expect to take home an interactive mini-Baymax toy anytime soon. The team obviously still has a lot to do -- such as design the rest of the robot -- but this is definitely a start.