A Japanese company has developed some stretchable power cables.
If you’re reading this, you probably buy the odd gadget every now and then. OK, you buy a lot. One thing nearly every gadget fan has dealt with is having cables that are just too short to reach the electrical socket. Then you have to rearrange the furniture, coming up with some impromptu feng shui just to power your shiny new toy.
Asahi Kasei Fibers has introduced the Roboden, an elastic electrical cable. It’s made out of spandex, which is the same fabric used in a lot of athletic gear, and which a lot of people whose bodies most people really don’t want to see completely outlined wear.
The cable is meant to be used mainly for robotics. Since robots need to have some freedom of movement, engineers usually leave some slack in the cables. But this cable allows the cable to be as tight or as loose as necessary. It will also allow people to build human-like robots that are more realistic and soft, which might help them avoid going deep into the Uncanny Valley.
Asahi Kasei is also planning to implement the technology in other cables, such as USB. This would be an obvious boon for portable electronics, given the abuse they (and their cables) often take.