US scientists create prototype of autonomous origami-inspired robot
Sunday, August 10, 2014
A research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and 's has developed a that assembles itself within four minutes from a flat sheet into a 3D (three-dimensional) moving structure. Unlike previous self-folding machines, the robot can function . published the study this Friday.
Also on Friday, Science published a report of a-led research team on applications of in design of programmable .
Asreported, MIT–Harvard team lead author Sam Felton, a Harvard University , priced the manufacturing equipment for the robot at 3,000, which could then make each individual unit — a 13 -long, -like robot — for about $100.
As described by MIT researchers, the initially flat sheet consists of five layers:wires in the middle, then two layers of paper (above and below), and two outer layers of . The embedded heating circuits activate the robot's self-folding by heating shape memory polymers at the hinges. The parameters defining the fold pattern which determines the final 3D shape are placement of the self-folding hinges, and the order of their triggering. Felton told about creation of the pattern: "Cyclic folds are used by a software program called 'Origamizer' as building blocks to create any . We've discovered that we can [...] create a wide variety of structures and machines."
Once the battery is attached to the design, the robot folds itself into the pre-determined shape and walks away, with motion of the four-legged robot controlled by the includedand two small motors synchronised by it. Each of the four legs has eight "linkages" which convert the force applied by a motor into motion. "It lets you transfer just one degree of freedom into a whole complicated motion, all through the mechanics of the structure," says coauthor Erik Demaine, MIT professor of and .
The robot moved during testing at about 5.4 centimeters per second, over a pre-determined route, not just a straight line — without any outside assistance. Marc Lavine, a senior Science editor, suggested such robots might be put in place "through a confined passageway, such as a collapsed building, after which they would assemble into their final form autonomously".
The folding pattern studied by the Cornell-led research team is well-known in origami as , whose unusual engineering properties caught the attention of team member Chris Santangelo of the .
Cornell University lead author Jesse Silverberg commented on potential of origami-based engineering: "When incorporated into more complex devices, these materials will enable on-the-fly transformation of mechanical function. We envision combining these origami-inspired materials with computer-controlled actuators to build more complex machines, such as hardening shells, locked-in joints and deployable barriers; and ultimately, this transformer technology will revolutionize the way we think about materials, moving them beyond their current static form, and revealing more functionality than what originally meets the eye".
- S. Felton et al. "A method for building self-folding machines" — , August 8, 2014
- Jesse L. Silverberg et al. "Using origami design principles to fold reprogrammable mechanical metamaterials" — , August 8, 2014
- Ian Sample. "Self-assembling origami robot is world's first Transformer" — , August 7, 2014
- Abby Abazorius (Origami robot folds itself up, crawls away" — , August 7, 2014). "
- Syl Kacapyr (Origami could lead to exotic materials, tiny transformers" — , August 7, 2014). "
- Natasha D. Pinol (Small, origami-inspired pop-up robots function autonomously" — , August 7, 2014). "