S. Felton, M. Tolley, E. Demaine, D. Rus, and R. Wood, “A method for building self-folding machines”, Science, volume 345, number 6197, August 8, 2014, pages 644–646.
Origami can turn a sheet of paper into complex three-dimensional shapes, and
similar folding techniques can produce structures and mechanisms. To
demonstrate the application of these techniques to the fabrication of
machines, we developed a crawling robot that folds itself. The robot starts as
a flat sheet with embedded electronics, and transforms autonomously into a
functional machine. To accomplish this, we developed shape-memory composites
that fold themselves along embedded hinges. We used these composites to
recreate fundamental folded patterns, derived from computational origami, that
can be extrapolated to a wide range of geometries and mechanisms. This
origami-inspired robot can fold itself in 4 minutes and walk away without
human intervention, demonstrating the potential both for complex self-folding
machines and autonomous, self-controlled assembly.