Toward Growable Robot : Exploring and Integrating Flexible – Biological Matter with Electronics


The direction of recent research suggests the convergence of digital and biological systems, where researchers designed and engineered technology that share many of the aspects of living organisms. We explore a step towards “growable robotics”, a type of robotic system that has the ability to self-grow either a part of or its whole body into a functional shape with minimal help from the external system. We propose the application of microbial cellulose, as a biological exoskeleton of the electrical system with renewable, self-healing, and shape changing properties. We demonstrate the process of creating the growable robot by prototyping a simple rover inspired by NASA folded origami mechanisms. Finally, we analyze the potential applications based on the properties of the material, and suggest the future directions in growable and biological augmented robotics.


Jaime Sanchez De La Vega
Abhik Chowdhury
Audrey Ng