Programmable matter is a technology that’s rapidly gaining the attention of lots of researchers. Even though there aren’t any actual existing applications of this, yet we see a lot of potential in it through research experiments.
MIT’s Tangible Media Group is one such research place that has been doing a lot of work on different types of Programmable Material.
We have already seen different types of Programmable Materials from MIT, and now, they have come up with another new type of programmable material, in the form of Exoskin.
Exoskin is a membrane-backed rigid material, made up of tessellated triangles of firm silicone. These triangles are mounted on top of flexible silicone bladders which can be individually inflated to change the shape of the Exoskin.
When inflated, these air bladders can be used to react to your touch, communicate information and even change the function of the Exoskin.
Researchers are already working on all the different applications that this sort of technology can be used for. However, before they can think about large scale adoption, they will have to work out the scalability issues.
These issues arise due to the fact that any and all control of this technology is dependent on the number of individually actuatable bladders present.
Therefore, for a truly complex and versatile application, the researchers would have place lots of individually actuated elements, which would in turn require lots of external air pumps and lots of tubing for individual pneumatic actuation.
To combat this limitation, the researchers are now working on producing Self-Contained Pneumatic Actuators that wouldn’t need any external help to become active.
Once this technological hurdle is overcome, the Exoskin technology would revolutionize how we interact with information in physical dimensions. The promise of this technology is truly amazing and we can’t wait to see how it is turned into reality.