Origami robot folds itself
For many years, a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University has been working on the creation of origami robots that would be able to fold themselves into any shape.
On August 7, they report that they have overcome the last milestone: a robot, almost entirely made of parts made with a laser cutter, can fold itself and crawl. In addition to the main parts, batteries are used.
“The most fascinating thing is that you yourself create this device, which in a matter of minutes turns from a flat state to a three-dimensional state and is even able to move,” said Daniela Rus and Erna Viterbi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.
Rus began working with Eric Damane, a professor at MIT, and three other Harvard researchers, with Sam Felton, Michael Toli and Rob Wood.
At the IEEE international conference on robotics and automation this spring, Rus, Damain, Wood, and five other researchers from MIT and Harvard provided documentation on robots that could independently assemble from materials previously cut on a laser cutter.
The robot is built of five layers of materials. The middle layer is made of copper, it is clamped on top and bottom by two layers of paper: the outer layers are made of polymer, which folds when heated.
After laser cutting of layered materials, a microprocessor and several small motors are attached to the surface. This model uses two engines, each of which controls two legs on each side of the robot; motors are synchronized using a microprocessor. Each leg, in turn, has eight mechanical connections that transmit force from the engine to the legs.
The design of this robot should demonstrate not only the ability to generate motion, but also the ability to create something flat out of the plane.