Presenting Kino, a new research project led by Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao: “Living” wearables that can act as shape-changing jewelry, weather-responsive clothing, and more. Kino devices can move independently on the body to perform assigned tasks; paired with mobile devices, they become personalized on-body assistants. Learn more: http://mitsha.re/BiUC30e2Lme
Posted by MIT Media Lab on Monday, July 31, 2017
If you’re still not convinced robots are going to be part of our (very near) future, you might want to reconsider your stance after you see MIT’s newest invention. The MIT Media Lab Group recently unveiled Project Kino, which features tiny robots that can seamlessly change the design on a piece of clothing.
The team behind Project Kino has a few different visions of what the robots will do in their final iteration. The first is “pattern changing,” where a robot has a similar pattern to an article of clothing but can move around to change the design. A preview of the concept is ahead.
Another possible function is “shape-changing jewelry,” which is similar to “pattern changing,” but would feature several different robots moving in tandem to form several kinds of jewelry shapes simultaneously.
A more permanent version of this idea is the “etching pattern” robot, which could “draw” new designs by simply moving around a certain kind of fabric. For example, if the robot moves on a piece of velvet fabric, it “creates” a new temporary look.
For those who care more about function than form, another possibility is “climate-reactive clothing.” In this case, robots could react to temperature and adapt the clothing piece appropriately. So if the temperature were to get warmer, the robots could pull down the strings of a raincoat hood to free your head.
The Project Kino team hopes to solve some of the robot’s small kinks (like its size) so that it can someday be worn regularly. “It is our vision that in the future, these robots will be miniaturized to the extent that they can be seamlessly integrated into existing practices of body ornamentation,” the team wrote in a blog post. For more on how Project Kino works, check out the video above.