US-based team of scientists has built a robot that folds itself into an origami-inspired shape starting from a flat sheet. The assemblage of such robot doesn’t require any human intervention. It is made from a polymer material which shrinks when heated, also has electronics and motors attached to it. When the heating elements affect the hinges made in paper, the robot starts transforming into a crab-like machine. The whole process takes about 4 minutes before the robot can start walking.
The team behind the project said their inspiration came from the complex 3-D shapes in origami: like in the Japanese paper art, various three-dimensional shapes are constructed from a single sheet of paper. This robot takes origami a step further. According to the developer team, such self-assembling robots can be greatly employed in construction or rescue works.
“[They could be delivered] through a confined passageway, such as a collapsed building, after which they would assemble into their final form autonomously,” states Marc Lavine, senior editor at Science.
Robot‘s small size makes is what makes it very useful because of the easy transportation and storage. Apart from search-and-rescue missions, a more advanced version of the robot could be easily used construction works, especially in places that are hard to reach. The whole project is said to cost $11,000 but with the initial designs in place, the mass-production robots should cost around $100 each. (via NPR)
Watch a short video about the project after the jump.
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