Even if they were a simple technology at first, robots have evolved tremendously in the last two decades and now we use them for a verity of purposes, from the food industry all the way to the medical industry. As technology evolves robots are becoming more and more advanced, the Origami robot from Harvard and MIT being the prime example of that.
This Origami robot is very small and it self-assembles. The uses for such a mechanical genius can be tremendous, from helping people that are caught under the debris after an earthquake to actually exploring previously unreachable areas. This robot will scuttle away when heated, which is quite amazing.
The main inspiration for the robot was the way the amino acids are folding into some complex proteins in the natural world.
The uses for this particular robot go well beyond the entertainment sector, as it can actually save lives if it’s sent in unreachable areas. The Origami robot is the first robot in the world that actually builds itself without any human intervention. Needless to say, this technology was really hard to develop and the Harvard team says it took a large number of years to create it. From our point of view, this was totally worth it, because not only this looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, but people can use it in a variety of ways.
As you already know, Origami is a Japanese art that requires you to fold paper and create various types of objects from it. This ancient ritual is the perfect fit for such a robot because it doesn’t use the traditional nuts and bolts, but instead it provides a sturdy robot that can build and crawl on its own without a problem.
The Origami Robot’s design is comprised out of a flat circuit board that is covered in polystyrene. The minimalist, yet very high-tech approach makes the robot very feasible.
Each fold and hinge in this robot contain embedded circuits that are creating heat when commanded by the microcontroller. Once the heat triggers are activated, the robot will start self-folding automatically, in a series of controlled steps.
These hinges cool in a few minutes, and the polystyrene hardens. This makes the whole robot stiff and ready to venture in the world by itself. Depending on where you want to use it and the purpose, you can easily equip this device with a miniature camera to record places that would otherwise be unreachable by humans.
Most probably the great thing about this robot is that it cost about 50 pounds to create, yet the benefits are well worth the price. Being able to access unreachable areas is amazing, and thanks to this self-building robot we have the opportunity to do just that.
The Harvard Origami robot is the prime example why people need to continue innovating and breaking the boundaries. This robot is cool-looking, very useful, and for a very small price anyone can have it. This is an impressive piece of technology that is well worth checking out.
Photo credit: Harvard’s Wyss Institute
YouTube: ‘Is this Origami Robot the First Real Transformer?’ by Bloomberg News