Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons” (video)

self-folding origami

Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons”

From butterflies that sprout wings to hermit crabs that switch their shells, many animals must adapt their exterior features in order to survive. While humans don’t undergo that kind of metamorphosis, we often try to create functional objects that are similarly adaptive — including our robots.

Despite what you might have seen in “Transformers” movies, though, today’s robots are still pretty inflexible. Each of their parts usually has a fixed structure and a single defined purpose, making it difficult for them to perform a wide variety of actions.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are aiming to change that with a new shape-shifting robot that’s something of a superhero: It can transform itself with different “outfits” that allow it to perform different tasks. Continue reading “Changing robot capabilities by using self-folding origami “exoskeletons” (video)”

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)

polymer

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water

As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in water.

In a paper appearing in the American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and colleagues report something new: a printable structure that begins to fold itself up as soon as it’s peeled off the printing platform.

One of the big advantages of devices that self-fold without any outside stimulus, the researchers say, is that they can involve a wider range of materials and more delicate structures. Continue reading “Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)”