Make and Present Cable Experiments


Explore simple cabled systems.


I definitely wanted to try the straw example that was shown to us, so I followed a tutorial on youtube. The tutorial is a basic soft robotic arm made out of 5 straws and thread. But before following the tutorial I tried doing it on my own without looking anything up. I thought to use some raw cotton that I have lying around along with some thread and straws. It did not work out so well. There were too many things necessary like glue or beads and I knew that since it’s getting too complicated that I should probably look it up.

Challenges and Observations

I watched the video once and thought that I could accomplish it quickly. At first I simply made a few cuts along the straw. It did not work too well. After several failed attempts I paid a little closer attention to the video. Turns out that cutting out a shape is what allows the straw to spring back up. When it’s a simple cut it seems that there is no air flow. Cutting out a diamond shape helped the straws to breather and bend.


Making it bend is exciting, but I really wanted it to grab things just like in the video and yeah it can grab soft things, but not hard things like a cup. I realized that just like our fingers there should be some space between them at the base.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this exercise, so I played around with some cardboard as well:

Had fun with this one. This cardboard grabby is not very strong, but I can lift more things with it compared to the 5 straw grabby. At first I wanted to make 3-4 arms and I am positive I can make one, but making it this simple consumed less time and the process of making it seemed clearer.


Even thought it’s an overall simple process it can actually be quite complicated. However, the activity is extremely satisfying. I am looking forward to making more complicated things.

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