MIT's Personal Robots Group has created a tiny mechanized zipper that zips itself — good news for the absent-minded among us who forget now and then, but also for disabled people and any situation where manual zipping might be troublesome. It could, for example, help paraplegics and multiple amputees dress themselves. And for anyone interested, why not a push-button tent flap or duffel bag opener?
It's part of the Sartorial Robotics effort at MIT, aimed at creating "robotic systems that utilize the human-centric system of clothing to create robotics for human-robot social interaction." In other words, cyberclothes.
The Zipperbot is still just an experiment, but the researchers hope it indicates a future in which robotics and "uniquely human pursuits" like clothing merge and augment one another. The Sartorial Robotics group has also created, among other things, the artsy, one-off "Original Machines" and a group of performing "Operabots."