Paper by Erik D. Demaine

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.

See also supplementary text, video 1, and video 2.

This paper is also available from AAAS.

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Last updated May 17, 2017 by Erik Demaine.