MIT’s zipper robots could dress you — if you let them

This is a robot that has an eye for style. In a video released this month, a group at MIT’s Media Lab demonstrated how a group of tiny robots can track the rails of a zipper and seal you into your clothing — and you won’t need to lift a finger.

The project, “Sartorial Robots,” began more than two years ago as the PhD thesis of its chief architect, Adam Whiton, then a student at the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. The chief of the Personal Robots Group, some of you may know, is Cynthia Breazeal, the co-founder of Indiegogo-funded home robot Jibo that is due to go on sale this year.

Breazeal’s track record with robots that interact with humans without spooking them out suggests there’s a chance there’s a future for robots with such a utilitarian mission. But like many of the projects at the Media Lab, it’s not clear if these adorable and tiny robots are anything more than an elaborate but delightful thought experiment.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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