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Origami robot can assemble itself in just four minutes
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of folding flat paper into sculpture-like ornaments. Inspired by the folding mechanisms of this niche art-form, a team of researchers at MIT and Harvard have been working on combining electrical engineering and the origami craft to design robots that are able to fold themselves into erratic shapes.
It takes four minutes for the robot to fold itself up and be fully operational without any human assistance. According to a study published in the journal of Science, the potential is “both for complex self-folding machines and autonomous, self-controlled assembly.”
These robots could be used to penetrate collapsed buildings and assemble themselves into a form in which they can properly function. Alternative uses could see them utilise their potential in terrains like space and battlefields or even search and rescue scenarios.
In order to construct such a robot the researchers had to study the Miura-ori pattern that essentially looks like a 3D mosaic of folding flat paper into smaller shapes and is used to stack solar panels for space.
“Folding allows you to avoid the ‘nuts and bolts’ assembly approaches typically used for robots or other complex electromechanical devices, and it allows you to integrate components such as electronics, sensors and actuators, while flat,” said Professor Robert Wood of Harvard to the Independent.
The idea is definitely original and visionary even though it might prove to be costly and time-consuming. We can’t wait to see it materialize!