Soft Robotics 101 + Art Application

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Gray Broderick

Jun 7, 2022, 3:38:45 PM6/7/22
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Hi everyone! 

I've never experimented with robotics so I'd love any advice on how to start with a piece I'm looking to create.

I've been working on a project around social anxiety, trying to replicate a heightened sense of bodily awareness when you come into contact with others or enter crowded spaces. I'm hoping to create a sort of "loose corset" or "tube top" that contracts/releases in response to surrounding movement, varying depending on the amount of movement and sound.

Any guidance, advice, critique, etc. is welcome, especially because I don't know how plausible this piece is in reality!  

Thank you!

Not Public

Nov 17, 2022, 7:38:30 PM11/17/22
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Hello. I vote "plausible".
Did you look at the resources for educators section? The pneumatic wrist brace is a tightening device. Textile silicone hybrid sensor is intriguing. You have been thinking about the ways we might identify a space as crowded, you could choose a sensor that is responsive to decibels, perhaps.

What is the sense/ the measurable thing that you wish to respond to? When do you want the garment to tighten? What is the reasoning behind the garment?
Perhaps the garment wishes to be responsive to a change in body temperature or heart rate, of the wearer, rather than some externalised trigger.

If everyone was to wear a decibel-responsive garment, how might it affect the noise-level of the gathering?

At a guess, I believe you wish to make a garment that tightens to give the wearer a sense of support or comfort or security in a potential sea of anxiety?
Perhaps you use "awareness" in the sense that it might encourage the wearer to hold themselves differently (stand tall, back straight, posture, my dear, posture).

Or other motivations.

I read your message because currently experience a related notion. I started thinking about warming and cooling sensations. Or how to simulate a responsive or caring touch.
I am interested to share research.


Gray Broderick

Apr 7, 2023, 10:06:45 AMApr 7
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I apologize for such a belated reply! This wound up in my Spam folder, but I so appreciate the thoughtful reply.

To preface, I have no background in robotics and my inquiry is for an art piece I’d like to produce. Yes, it’s be a response to the decibel levels of a space or, unsure if this is possible, motion surrounding a person. As the decibel level or motion increases (higher population density), the corset increases.

I’ve been speaking to a physical therapist who does manual realignment (moving bones and muscle tissue), who often works on opening up the diaphragm to increase breathing capacity and correct posture. I was thinking of finding a way to have the corset simultaneously tighten around the ribcage (think grip) while it also helps to open up the ribs for increased capacity. This all comes from the experience of social anxiety, and how to almost Trojan Horse the sensation by taking the painful elements (decreased breathing and heightened self-awareness) and using that tight sensation to one’s advantage, by reteaching the sensation by giving them extra physical support.

In terms of other sensations, I haven’t given it as extensive of thought given I don’t know what’s feasible. The temperature is interesting. Also material, something like foam could diffuse the tightness. Even mild vibration or something could be another feature that helps loosen muscle tightness, especially between the ribs themselves, and to release fascia.

Again, I have no robotics background so still sorting out what is and isn’t possible, and what I haven’t thought of.

Thank you for your thoughts! Definitely trying to execute this, but am lacking the expertise so all help and ideas are appreciated! 

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