An origami inspired robot has been developed by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of technology, which can assemble itself in a complex shape and can move without human intervention. This robot is powered by small battery and is made up parts that are produced by laser cutters.
As per the researchers, the scope of ways of inexpensively and quickly manufacturing the robots that can interact with environment as well as automate much of the design and assembly process has been expanded by this invention. The latest development was explained by the researchers in a study which was published in the Journal Science on Thursday. They say that the robots have a potential for sophisticated applications like space research.
A doctoral student of Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as the lead author of this study, Sam Felton said that it is good to imagine a ream of dozens of robotic satellites that are sandwiched together so that they can be sent to the space and then assembling themselves remotely there. Data as well as images can be collected easily.
The robot has 5 layers of materials which are cut as per the digital specifications by laser cutters. The middle layer is made up of copper, which is first fixed into a complex network of electrical leads and later is squeezed between 2 structural layers of paper. Shape-memory polymer is used for making up the external layers. This is a material which has the ability of folding, upon heating.
After the layering of laser-cut materials is done, a small motor and a microprocessor are attached to the top surface. The microprocessor synchronizes the motor and 2 of the robot’s legs are controlled with 8 mechanical linkages. Each linkage is for converting the force that is applied by the motor into movement.
As per the researchers, the new design has been inspired by Origami, a popular Japanese art, wherein a single sheet of paper is folded into complex designs. With this approach, the traditional nuts and bolts are avoided.