Ephyra, a robot featured at exhibition "TOKYO FIBER 07' SENSEWARE" is equipped with a flexible “skin” and highly-sensitive touch organs. It is intended to be a mini simulation of mankind’s future creations. The cylinder-shaped cloth with its mouth wide open upward is a supreme example of extending the limitations of the cutting-edge warp knitting machine of Raschel Seamless Ware. This cloth is woven in a denser weave toward the bottom. The cloth wraps the mechanical body in softness; like “skin”. Twelve arms, driven by hydraulics, are set up in a radial pattern at the center of the machine. As if to explore their extended boundaries, these tentacles expand and contract in all directions, pushing out the highly elastic fiber that covers them in a slow, repetitive movement. These arms, equipped with sense organs, serve as tentacles, and each is equipped with touch sensors at its extremity. When visitors, try to touch the robot with their hands, Ephyra reacts like a living creature, such as snail's tentacle. The robot has the ability to respond to the slightest stimulation; whether or not the tentacle has been touched, it will retract at unbelievable speed. Though the tentacle remains hidden for some time after, if you wait for a while, you will see it slowly emerging once again. Until someone else touches it, a graceful, gentle movement of expansion and contraction can be seen.

MATERIALS: Double-raschel seamless knit, Air cylinder, Steel / DIMENSIONS: Dia.3000mmx4000mm / PROJECT COMPLETED: April 2007 / DESIGN AND DIRECTION: Shunji Yamanaka / TEXTILE COOPERATION: Yoshida Sangyo Co., Ltd. / REASEARCH COOPERATION: Keio University SFC Wakita Lab. / PRODUCTION: Mariko Higaki, Michihiko Ueno, Yosuke Ushigome / PROGRAMMING: Sohei Kitada / FRAME DESIGN: Masaki Shimomura