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Origami Robot

August 13, 2014

Using origami techniques to make real life Transformer robots.




(Seth Kroll. Wyss Institute)

A pop-up robot. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The ancient art of origami involves folding single sheets of paper into complex, three-dimensional objects. Engineers report in the journal Science that they’ve created an origami robot that assembles itself. MIT engineer Eric Demaine says origami is a quick and versatile manufacturing method.


Folding offers a powerful way to assemble 2D structures into 3D but also to build 3D structures that can transform their shape dynamically.


The team used sheets made of a material found in children’s playthings called shrinky-dinks, that change shape when heated. They etched fold lines into the material, and added electronically controlled heating devices. When triggered, the sheets fold into four-legged robots capable of walking and turning. They say the technology could allow people to easily design robots and then manufacture them quickly and cheaply. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.