Purdue University researchers developed robotic fabric that can move and contract when heat is applied. The fabric is made of a cotton material that contains flexible polymer sensors and tiny strands of a shape-memory alloy.
The team tested different positions with the fabric wrapped around a foam block. When the fabric was placed one direction, it bent the foam, and when placed in the opposite direction, the fabric compressed the foam block. Potential applications of this new robotic fabric could be used to make robots with sensory skin, robotic clothing, and flexible electronics.