These earphones that can inflate into bigger headphones allows the user to carry around a pair of headphones in their pocket and experience two different ways of listening to music, podcasts or watching videos. Drawing on soft robotics technology, the headphones rely on a small air pump that can inflate silicone rings around the earbuds; the rings become the ear pads from typical headphones. To make the silicone rings, creating a mold that allowed an air chamber inside the ring was a challenge. A three-part mold was used to create the rings and fabric was attached inside the ring to close out the air chamber. To use Convertible Headphones as earbuds, the user simply lets the air out and places their earbuds in their ears. To use them as headphones, the user inflates the rings with a small syringe enough so that the headphones comfortably fits their ears.
A research project to make fully soft robotics that can survive in harsh conditions.
Flexi Bots are fully soft robots that can survive in harsh conditions, such as very high temperatures, impact, and crushing pressures. Current soft robots use hard bodies with soft actuators, the problem with this approach is the physical robot is not resistant to crushing or impact. This project will be used mainly by researchers because of the wide variety of forces this robot can handle. These robots are made entirely out of silicone, using 3D-printed molds and wax inserts that are melted out to create air pockets that inflate via pneumatics to actuate small feet that propel the robots forward. At this stage, they will be used mainly by researchers who want to investigate the wide variety of forces this robot can handle. In the future, the hope is that these robots will be used to explore the ocean, climb on ships, or even be used in swarms. They could be either remote-controlled or fully autonomous.