Worlds First Elastic Electric/Data/USB Cables - Roboden
Roboden, developed by Asahi Kasei Fibers, is the worlds first elastic electrical cable. Wiring on robots usually needs to be slack to allow for the robots movement, such as parts twisting or moving back and forth, but by using these elastic electrical cables, the wiring can perfectly match the robots movement without being too tight or loose.
"We manufacture Spandex, an elastic textile, so we make fabrics that expand and contract to fit the human body. As a result, we know that human skin can stretch by a factor of 1.5. So we thought, if we can make a cable that stretches by a factor of 1.5, it could be used for wearable electronics, or for wiring the skin of humanoid robots. Those were the future applications we had in mind when we began development."
ROBODEN is available in various types for power and signal cables, including USB cables. It bends easily and has a long flexure life, so it can be used in many other situations as well.
"When we talked to Professor Inaba at The University of Tokyo, he advised us that, for robots to be more like people, they'll need to be soft, so they'll need something akin to skin. And if you make skin, you'll have wiring in the skin, so the wiring will need to follow the contours of the robot. Therefore, to make robots with a soft skin, it's probably essential for wiring to be able to expand and contract."
"Of course, this will also have applications in amusement or entertainment, so we'd like to see what customers say, and respond to their ideas in various ways."