Self-driving roam your clothes for function or fashion

Forget wearable devices. In the future, you might be using wearable robots instead. No, you're not getting into a robot suit, of course, but your suit might instead have tiny robots rolling and crawling all over. At least that's the idea behind "Rovable", a roving robot "wearable" developed by researchers from MIT and Standford University. While it seems to give a whole new meaning to "creepy crawlies", the robots' purpose isn't whimsical. The goal is to eventually developer robots that can perform anything from activity tracking, notifications, calls, and perhaps even wardrobe repairs.

We're still mostly trying to figure out where to place wearable devices, especially smartwatches, in the grand scheme of things, and yet here are some visionaries already thinking of wearable robots. Wearables, like bands or even patches of cloth, have one inherent limitation, however: they're fixed in their position.

But not only does one size not fit all, such devices would naturally be limited to what they were designed to do and only for specific body parts. A Rovable, in contrast, could do more. It could take biometric measurements, display information, or give tactile feedback. And they can all travel to the specific part of the body where the activity makes the most sense.

For example, the robot could roll or crawl down to your wrist to measure your pulse and heart rate, or tap your arm to call your attention. It can then later climb up to your neck to act as a microphone for a call.

Of course, in their current prototype form, these robots are not exactly discreet. In the not so near future, however, they could be as small as a fingernail. And when the robot's job is done, it could get out of the way and hide or, better yet, turn itself as the centerpiece of your fashion statement.

VIA: New Scientist