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Prototyping Robot Appearance, Movement, and Interactions
Using Flexible 3D Printing and Air Pressure Sensors

Ronit Slyper and Jessica Hodgins

Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh


We 3D print soft robot skins using a rubber-like printable material. We capture interactions with the skin using air pressure sensors plugged into hollow chambers built into the skin. We provide a vocabulary of different shapes of chambers, each designed to capture a particular manipulation.

Paper Abstract
We present a method for rapidly prototyping interactive robot skins using flexible 3D printed material and analogue air pressure sensors. We describe a set of building blocks for presenting affordances for different manipulations (twist, bend, stretch, etc.). Each building block is a hollow air chamber that can be printed as an integral part of the skin to easily add sensing capabilities over any broad area. Changes in volume caused by manipulating the chambers are captured using air pressure sensors; the sensors can be plugged in and removed, allowing rapid iteration on new designs. We demonstrate our method by prototyping three robot skins that attach to the Keepon Pro armature. With fully operational robot skins, we can study the dependencies between appearance, movement, and interactions at a deeper level than would previously be possible at the concept stage.

Ronit Slyper and Jessica Hodgins. Prototyping Robot Appearance, Movement, and Interactions Using Flexible 3D Printing and Air Pressure Sensors. In Ro-Man 2012: Proceedings of the 21st IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, September 2012. BiBTeX



Media
paper1.3M
Keynote '09 presentation 161M.
Presented video (.mov) 57M.
Submitted video (.mp4; contains Shakespeare instead of Ghostbusters) 9.9M.