Sneaker freaks have their fingers crossed that Nike will be able to deliver power laces in time for when Back to the Future II predicted we'd all be wearing them. But what about the rest of our clothing? Who wants to be bothered zipping up a jacket when your shoes automatically lace themselves? So Adam Whiton and MIT's Personal Robots Group have already been hard at work developing, and perfecting, automatic zippers.
Robotic humanoids like ATLAS will one day be useful to the average person, who hasn't dreamed of owning an obedient robo-butler. But that is years and years away. Based on this video showing the tiny robot zipper in action, there's no reason to believe it couldn't be incorporated into jackets by the fall. It means you'd have to charge your winter coat every night, but in exchange you'd never risk getting your finger pinched ever again, as long as robo-zipper is subject to the same laws of robotics as all the others. [MIT - Sartorial Robots via IEEE Spectrum]