Roboden electrical cable stretches like human skin


December 6, 2011

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Researchers from Japanese company Asahi Kasei Fibers have developed what is claimed to be the world's first elastic electric cable. Inspired by the extensibility of human skin, the Roboden cable has been initially designed as a wiring solution for humanoid robots and wearable electronics. The stretchy cable could also find its way into personal electronics in the form of power cords or USB data cables.

Asahi Kasei Fibers is an Osaka-based company known for producing Spandex, a synthetic fabric featuring a high level of stretchiness. Basing on its Spandex-related experiences, the company found that a cable stretchable in the same way as human skin, by a factor of 1.5, is suitable to be utilized in wearable electronics, as well as in robotics.

The company says that in order to create more human-like robots "something akin to skin" is required. Therefore "it's probably essential for wiring to be able to expand and contract," Asahi Kasei's Shunji Tatsumi explains. The result - Roboden - is designed to match the robot's motion and could allow the phase out typical rigid cables that can hinder robotic movement.

Asahi Kasei Fibers also believes Roboden could minimize the cable clutter at homes and offices as well, being utilized as various types of power and signal cables, including USB.

There's no clear plans yet as to when Roboden will become a retail product.

Source: DigInfo TV

Diginfo TV talks to Shunji Tatsumi in the following video:


Wow they stretch almost as good as my old phone cord. Seriously this is old technology; they had stretch leads back in the 50\'s made from phosphor bronze tension springs covered with rubber tubing. The main use was for telephone exchanges, they looked much like the leads in this article.


Um, well. How durable is it? Less practical question: could this be made into a sensor, so that it could signal it\'s being stretched and where? Why not make it stretchier?

Danie Clawson

Danie, every design/material has its limitations. If you have a specific application in mind, talk to the manufacturer.

Kevin Frothngham
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