Adam Whiton Thesis Defense

September 23, 2013


MIT Media Lab, E14-525


Sartorial Robotics is a method of merging fashion theory and robotics through the design and development of robotic systems. These systems facilitate interaction and play as well as mimic the materiality, aesthetics, and construction techniques of textiles, apparel and fashion. This will enhance the social aspects of human-robotic interaction and assist in how we situate robotics in our lives and cultures.

Building upon a history of robot aesthetics and a formulaic approach to analyze and understand fashion, a series of design principles for Sartorial Robotics were established and applied in the research and development of robotic systems that utilize the human-centric system of clothing to create robotics for human-robot social interaction. The Group Identity Surface is a soft-architecture system utilizing thermochromic textiles and computer vision to facilitate human-machine teammate building. Zipperbot, a robotic continuous closure for fabric edge joining, was developed to explore autonomous control of a sartorial gesture and performed as a wearable robot which was evaluated through social interactions.

Clothing is a uniquely human pursuit and is nearly universal in its adoption and use. It plays a prominent role in our individual cultures transmitting a mixture of social signals and meanings through the semiotics of fashion. It is through this performance of assemblage of fabric surfaces we reconfigure ourselves and our identities. Merging robotics and fashion within the practice of Sartorial Robotics will enhance the explorations of identities for both humans and robots.

Host/Chair: Cynthia Breazeal


Leah Buechley, Ute Meta Bauer

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