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Would You Wear a Wearable That Crawls All Over You?


A small team from MIT’s Media Lab hopes that the answer is a “yes.” Its project, called Kino, is based on a series of small, wheeled robots that can crawl over the surface of your clothing. They're protected from gravity by a small magnet on the reverse side of the fabric, and that gets dragged along as the robot moves. Most of the applications are sadly ornamental, and the large size and short battery life of the devices remain an issue. But the researchers do show off one interesting use case, where temperature-sensitive robots are able to pull a hood up and over a person’s head when the mercury falls. “We’re thinking of wearables as a personal assistant,” explained Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, one of the researchers, to TechCrunch. “We think in the future, when they can have a brain of their own, they can learn your habits, learn your professional style, and when they get smaller, they can blend into the things you wear.” If you’re willing to wear them, of course.