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Hackernoon logoMiniature minion like robots to assist you by@febin

Miniature minion like robots to assist you

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@febinFebin John James

What if there was minion to poke you and remind you about a meeting?

Provide you with direction by tapping on your left or right shoulder?

Sit around your shoulder to act as a speaker microphone for a call?

Coordinate with other minions and form a jewellery like structure around your wrist or join their bums together to form a display?

Check out this video

Yes, I agree they are not minions exactly. But, Rovable is in it’s early stages. They can be skinned to your imaginations.

Presently wearable technologies like smart watches or head mounted displays don’t move around your body. However, a group of researchers from MIT challenges this and believes that wearable technologies should move around the body and react to their surroundings.

It is true. Having the ability to move itself can help these robots to be autonomous. Let’s see how that helps in interaction.



Providing feedback : Rovables can provide you with feedback in multiple ways. It can use a linear actuator which pokes your skin, or drag the tactor across the skin.

Moving around clothes : It can move around clothes. It uses magnets on both sides of the clothes , to move around freely. It can also carry small weights.

Taking care of itself : If they malfunction they can be detach themselves from host. If the battery is down , it can find a charger.


To sense different things around the body , it is necessary for the sensors to be located at appropriate positions. Rovables, is perfect for this use case because it can move itself to a particular spot . Also it can take data from multiple places and select the best one.

User Interface

Robots can assemble together to form a bigger screen. They can not only provide output but also take input through touch or gestures. They can hide themselves into a form of jewellery when not in use.

Mary & Minions

In the morning Mary goes for jogging. Minions move to her limbs track movements, a few move to her chest to measure respiration and heart rate. When she goes to the movies, minions assemble on her wrist and form a display showing her ticket. If the temperature gets too hot, it folds Mary’s sleeves. They will poke Mary if she get’s an important mail. When she goes for a date, they form a decorative necklace and an appropriate bracelet. They can show directions by tapping on the left or right shoulder. When she goes to sleep, they start monitoring quality of her sleep.

You see, the possibilities are infinite.

This is a derived work from the research paper Rovables: Miniature On-Body Robots as Mobile Wearables . The credit goes to Artem Dementyev, Hsin-Liu (Cindy) Kao, Inrak Choi, Deborah Ajilo, Maggie Xu, Joseph A. Paradiso, Chris Schmandt, Sean Follmer from MIT.

Follow Hackernoon and me (Febin John James) for more stories. I love converting research papers which contains tech jargons into stories so that it can be easily understood. If you have a paper or a topic that needs to be converted into a story, make a private note here.

I am also writing a book to raise awareness on the Blue Whale Challenge, which has claimed lives of many teenagers in several countries. It is intended to help parents understand the threat of the dark web and to take actions to ensure safety of their children. The book Fight The Blue Whale is available for pre-order on Amazon. The title will be released on 20th of this month.


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