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Calico Wearable Robot Like Robert Forward's Imp

The Calico wearable relocatable on-cloth robot was developed by researchers at the Small Artifacts Lab (SMART LAB) at the University of Maryland.


(Calico relocatable on-cloth wearable

Weighing just 18 grams, the robot attaches to a special track sewn on top of your clothing and is ready for work by traversing your garments, which allows it to do all kinds of things, including acting as a stethoscope to listen to your heart and lungs and coaching you through a fitness class.

Physicist and science fiction writer Robert Forward describes the Calico wearable robotic assistant in great detail in his 1985 novel Rocheworld; he calls them "imps":

Each astronaut in the crew has a small subtree or "imp" that stays with him or her to act as the communication link to the main computer. Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder, although some of the women prefer to keep theirs in their hairdo. In addition to acting as the communication link to the computer, the imps also act as health monitors and personal servants. They are the ideal solution to the perennial problem of spacesuits ... scratching an itchy nose. The imps go into the spacesuit with the humans, and more than one human life was saved by an imp detecting and repairing a suit failure or patching a leak.

(Via IEEE Spectrum.)

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