Image of knitted lampshades.
The tendon-embedding technique was used to create knitted objects such as lampshades that change shape.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers used computationally controlled knitting machines to create knitted objects that are actuated by tendons. The objects emerge from the knitting machines in their desired shapes and with tendons already embedded. The tendons can be attached to motors, as necessary.

The shape of the fabric, combined with the orientation of the tendon path, can produce a variety of motion effects. These include asymmetric bends, S-shaped bends, and twists. The approach could be used to build robots from materials that are inherently safe for people to be near, so it would be very hard to hurt someone.