Carnegie Mellon is a driving force to bring robotic systems into our everyday lives by building robots and robotic systems to improve performance in our work, play, and health.

Robots in the future will no longer be defined as heavy machines. Tomorrow’s robots will be smaller and designed for everyday purposes, with electronics nested into soft, technologically advanced materials.

The next generation of materials needs more than integrated sensors and actuators. They need to be highly integrated, complex, and symbiotic systems that are safe, soft, intelligent, interactive, and adaptive.

Electronic tattoos

Stretchable, inexpensive, tattoo-like circuits are made with an inkjet printer. Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed a simple, efficient method to make robust, highly flexible, tattoo-like circuits for use in wearable computing. The low-cost process adds trace amounts of an electrically-conductive, liquid metal alloy to tattoo paper that adheres to human skin. These ultrathin tattoos can be applied easily with water, the same way one would apply a child’s decorative tattoo with a damp sponge.


Exoform, a customizable, semi-rigid material with self-fusing edges has the potential to eliminate many of the doctors visits that go along with broken bones, not to mention help them heal faster. The Exoform cast distinguishes itself from the orthopedic materials currently available at local pharmacies, such as finger splints and wristbands, in that it can successfully support a variety of complex body parts and adjust its stiffness throughout the healing process. It is also breathable and can be submerged in water, allowing for a more comfortable wearing experience.

Student research